Killing Lincoln

In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America’s Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln’s generous terms for Robert E. Lee’s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln’s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies’ man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country’s most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.

…Ok, Bill O’Reilly…

I’m not sure what thrillers you’ve been reading, but this sure doesn’t “read like a thriller.” It reads like a history book, just like any other history book. A very good history book…but a history book nonetheless.

Nice try though, really. I know how much you like to fan your ego. Keep fanning.

PS…not a fan of Bill O’Reilly…you can’t tell you can you? It’s why, even though I love history, his collection of “Killing…” books have been delegated to my “HUSBAND BOOKS” designation. I have been putting them off solely because of the author.

But honestly, I didn’t hate this. I actually quite liked it. The first section was a bit boring for me, because it was all about the end of the war and battles and Lee’s surrender. And I hate reading about war and battles and strategy. Come ON, Bill, this isn’t why I’m reading the book. This isn’t Killing Lee’s Dreams.

Once that was over, though, and we started to actually get into the meat of the story, it was much more interesting. I was surprised at how much I remembered from my 8th grade DC trip study group (Thanks Mrs. Captain!), so obviously O’Reilly did his homework. There was also some information in there that the best history teacher on the planet did not teach me…so maybe he does know what he’s doing. Maybe.

The narrative ends with the hanging of Booth’s co-conspirators. That section of history isn’t something I new much about previously, so it was the most intriguing. A few characters showed up I hadn’t heard of before, and now I’m interested enough to look up more about their mysterious stories.

All jokes aside, this actually was a well written history. There was no political slant–which is something I was worried about from such an outspoken TV personality. Apparently, behind the man we love to hate, there is simply an *cough* intelligent *cough* history buff who knows how to do great research.

One more note–Martin Dugard is O’Reilly’s coauthor on these books, but he’s very rarely mentioned besides a smaller byline on the cover. I am unsure how the writing process breaks down for the two of them, but I do know they were partners on this. Does one do research and the other write? Do they share equally? One write, one edit? I don’t know! I’d be interested, though, if anyone does know.



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