Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, Nonfiction – History (Released September, 2011)
Bottom Line: Read it.
Summary: The story of the events leading up to and following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth.
My Thoughts: As I said in my review of Killing Kennedy (O’Reilly and Dugard’s other Presidential assassination book), I was looking forward to reading Killing Lincoln since I did not know much about Lincoln’s assassination. Just like Killing Kennedy, Killing Lincoln is a fantastic and compelling overview for someone who does not already know a lot about this historical event (i.e. this book is for regular people – not history scholars!). There are so many interesting things about Lincoln’s assassination that I was unaware of – such as the fact that it was the result of a much wider conspiracy. I’m actually somewhat embarrassed to talk about how much I learned from this book since it makes it painfully obvious how little I retained from U.S. History classes in high school and college! Basically, all I remembered going into it was that Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre…I didn’t know why, who else (if anyone) was involved, or what happened to Booth after the murder. All those questions are answered here – and in a way that reads like fiction. My only complaint is that the first quarter of the book was mostly devoted to a play by play of the end of the Civil War and Lee’s surrender to Grant – which I found boring. I think I could have skimmed through that part and not missed much of the story – or the authors could have saved us readers some pain by significantly shortening (or omitting) that section!
Have you read Killing Lincoln? Tell us what you thought (without spoilers!) in the comments section.