Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever

Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Holt, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9307-0
Political commentator O’Reilly and coauthor Dugard (Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingston) take on the “most spectacular assassination conspiracy in the history of man” in the form of a thriller in this rendition of Lincoln’s murder. Ponderous foreshadowing and innuendo produce a tedious read, even as they enable the authors to resurrect a theory that secretary of war Stanton was involved in the conspiracy to kill the president, vice-president, and secretary of state. They concede the contention has been “repudiated and dismissed by the vast majority of trained historians,” and yet allude to it frequently. Inaccuracies (e.g., ignoring a 2010 study of King Tut’s mummy showing he died of disease, not assassination) and anachronisms (e.g., referring to Grant’s “photograph” in newspapers although until the 1880s only engravings were possible) mar the account. Well-documented and equally riveting histories are available for readers interested in Lincoln’s assassination; this one shows how spin can be inserted into a supposedly “no spin American story.” B&w photos and maps. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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