Killing Lincoln Book Review

1842 Words8 Pages
In his book, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, Bill O’Reilly attempts to explore, in depth, the events leading up to and immediately after the assassination of President Lincoln. As a Television show host, questions arise as to O’Reilly’s qualifications to write such a book. To make up for the insight that he might lack, O’Reilly co-authors the book with Martin Dugard who, having written numerous non-fiction books prior to this one including The Last Voyage of Columbus and Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley & Livingstone, gives the book the qualifications it needs to be credible. In Part One, O’Reilly chronicles the final days of the Civil War as well as Lincoln and Boothe’s movements as the…show more content…
One of the biggest problems with the work is the lack of a codified bibliography to show the exact works that O’Reilly used to develop such an in-depth journey alongside Boothe and the sixteenth president. Peter Boyer sums up the lack of higher academic standing when he says, “Killing Lincoln is not a work of original scholarship or of breakthrough insight; it is meant to be a page turner” (Boyer). Additionally, the book also at times lacks objectiveness necessary to truly be a work of academic renown. Often the book seems a deification of Lincoln and an absurd villainization of a man who needs no help in being disliked. Also, the book is written from a staunch northern perspective that is at times full of hypocrisy. The most shocking example of this is when O’Reilly describes how sinful the people of Richmond were as they drank their troubles away, but the revelers of Washington simply enjoy themselves after a hard fought and righteous…show more content…
The book is very fast paced and for people unfamiliar with the Lincoln assassination can seem very riveting. The pace is given praise by Brian Odom when he claims that Killing Lincoln is a “fast paced, enthralling narrative that unfolds more like a true-crime” (Odom). The pictures of those involved in these historical events help to clarify and to paint the scene. The maps also help people that are unfamiliar of the geography in and around Washington, understand the layout of the area around the capitol city. Killing Lincoln is quite fast paced and functions well to an audience that is looking to simply familiarize themselves with the events of Lincoln’s death. Though it can be nauseatingly biased at times the story can at times be quite the page turner. All in all this book could work well for fans of Bill O’Reilly and novice history buffs as a jumping off point for further research into the Lincoln
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