Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Review of “Killing Lincoln”

As a history buff I was anxious to read "Killing Lincoln," the first work of history from Bill O'Reilly partnering with historian Martin Dugard. Together they deliver a true-crime account of the murder that shocked America, and took down an American president.

The book recounts the weeks leading up to and immediately following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, from the final days of the Civil War to the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the man who quickly became the country's most wanted fugitive as the prime suspect in Lincoln's death.

I had read several reviews of the book, one of which complained about historical inaccuracies, and I was a little apprehensive about how happy I would be with it from a history perspective. I was happy to find that my apprehensions were not necessary. There are a few minor discrepancies, but they are minor and have no effect on the story. It is well written and well researched and flows more like a crime novel than a history book.

I particularly like the first several chapters which discuss the final days of the civil war, including the events immediately leading to Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Those final days are rarely covered or discussed in any detail but they involved some of the bitterest fighting with both sides knowing that the outcome of the events of those few days would result in either the end of the war –or a prolonging of the bitter conflict, perhaps for years more and a continuation of the death, destruction and suffering.

The book also brings out the complex plan John Wilkes Booth came up with to not only kill Abraham Lincoln but also the Vice President and key cabinet members –again, something that is not widely known by today’s generation.

I would highly recommend this book –for both historical value and for just plain good entertainment.

Live Long and Prosper...

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