from Adam Gopnik at the New Yorker:
Overcome again by Lincoln's example-- by the idea of a President who was at once an interesting mind, a tough customer, and a good writer-- I decided to start reading the new Lincoln literature. It seemed to be multiplying by fission, as amoebas do, on the airport bookstore shelves. For the flight home, I picked up James L. Swanson's "Manhunt," a vivid account of the assassination and the twelve-day search for John Wilkes Booth that followed. Once again, I came to the deathbed scene, the vigil, the gathering. The Reverend Dr. Gurley, the Lincoln family minister, said, "'Let us pray.' He summoned up . . . a stirring prayer. . . . Gurley finished and everyone murmured 'Amen.' Then, no one dared to speak. Again Stanton broke the silence. 'Now he belongs to the angels.'"
Now he belongs to the angels? Where had that come from? There was a Monty Python element here ("What was that? I think it was 'Blessed are the cheesemakers,'" the annoyed listeners too far from the Mount say to each other in "Life of Brian"), but was there something more going on? I flipped to the back of the book. In the endnotes, Swanson explained that his rendering was deliberately at variance with the scholarly consensus: "In my view, shared by Jay Winik, the most persuasive interpretation supports 'angels' and is also more consistent with Stanton's character and faith."
The entire article can be read here.