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Book Review: Killing Lincoln

May 8th, 2012 No comments

I’ve always been fascinated by our 16th President. Many good books have explored Lincoln’s towering intellect, deep wisdom, quick wit, and keen ability to work with people who opposed him. In Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever, authors Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard portray the final days of Lincoln’s life in a gripping narrative that drew me in from the first page. Approaching this seminal event in American history from a variety of viewpoints, they move between concurrent story lines in a seamless way that keeps you turning pages well into the night.

The authors draw from a number of conflicting and controversial sources, so while the finished product garnered quite a bit of criticism—primarily, it appears, from reviewers who dislike O’Reilly to begin with and couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge that the authors detail the controversies at the back of the book—it is eminently readable. You get a feeling for who the players were, where they came from, what motivated them… Compared to other books I’ve read re his assassination, Killing Lincoln comes off not as a doctoral dissertation to slog through, but as a story you just don’t want to put down.

And that’s what the authors were, um, shooting for. Give it a shot. If you’re at all interested in the subject, you’ll enjoy the book.

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