Killing Lincoln

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Lincoln

 

Political firebrand Bill O’Reilly took a break from his TV show and returned to his roots – teaching American history – to co-author this lively account of Abraham Lincoln’s final days.  O’Reilly and Martin Dugard fashion their nonfiction books in the manner of fictional thrillers, and Killing Lincoln is certainly a page-turner. But as I turned those pages I had the same nagging question that afflicts me when I read most history books: How much “artistic license” did the authors take?  

Do O’Reilly and Dugard really know what ran through Lincoln’s mind as he stood on the deck of a steamboat and observed the bombing of Petersburg, Virginia? Were the authors privy to John Wilkes Booth’s inner turmoil as he lay injured in a Maryland swamp, just days after assassinating the president? And yet, no historian can expect to achieve total accuracy. Killing Lincoln at the very least does a fine job capturing the tumult and horror of April, 1865.

 

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