Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Killing Lincoln Book Review

When A Country Loses Their Leader

Abraham Lincoln 
I do not typically read non-fiction which is odd seeing as how I am a bit of a history nerd. Killing Lincoln was suggested for my reading list by my husband who rarely reads fiction. He was so enthused by this book that I finally followed his urging and read the book.

I have to tell you that I was not disappointed and am actually glad that I did read this historical account of the tragedy that our nation suffered when Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford's theater by John Wilkes Booth.

I thought I knew quite a lot about that fateful and tragic day in April of 1865 but this book proved how much I did not know. As Bill O'Reilly so eloquently states, "It is important for us to know our nation's history. To understand the lives of our heroes and to also understand the villains of our history."

I am very impressed with the research that Mr. O'Reilly and Martin Dugard (the co-author) put into this book. I also was impressed to learn that Bill O'Reilly was a history teacher before he entered the world of political commentary and hosting television shows.

Typically, I find non-fiction books rather difficult to read. I usually find them a little on the droll side and have a difficult time keeping my mind from wandering. Not so, with this book. At times it almost reads like a fictional story but the difference is the facts are accurate.


While reading this book, we do not just find out about our 16th President, we also find out about the days leading up to his assassination. We learn about the last few battles of the war and the people involved in those days. We learn quite a bit about General Grant and General Lee and how their lives had intertwined before the civil war. We are given the background of many of the central figures in Lincoln's life during his Presidency and that helps to understand what was really going on in our nation at the time.

The book reveals much about the villain of the story, John Wilkes Booth. We find that he was considered quite handsome at the time and was quite the playboy. We also learn about what drove him to his actions at the Ford Theater in April 1865. We also find out that he did not act alone and had not for quite some time.

I found myself stopping every once in a while and shaking my head, uttering, "Wow, just wow!" My husband and I would sit at the dinner table and discuss my progress through the book. We both found it fascinating, interesting and thought provoking.

I am really glad that I took my husband's suggestion and read the book. Admittedly, I was reluctant because I knew the ending, our President was fatally shot. There was so much more to the event that I did not know and did not understand. If you are a bit of a history nerd like me or prefer non-fiction over fiction; I truly believe that you will love this book. It would also be a wonderful gift for someone who you know loves to learn about history. The wonderful thing is that it comes in so many formats: hardcover, paperback, digital and audio cd.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

6 comments:

  1. As one who reads more nonfiction than fiction, I will certainly add this book to my list. It's a good time to read meaty books that help us understand our political context. Thanks for introducing me to this opportunity to immerse myself more deeply into essential American history.

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  2. The men in my family have read Killing Lincoln and have recommended it too. Like you, I simply haven't picked it up to read before. I think the title may be a bit off-putting for me. I'm not sure why I haven't read it yet, but now that I know you also recommend it, I find I am a lot more intrigued. I admit, I expected it to be more "textbook" than enjoyable to read.

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  3. Bev, like you, I prefer to read fiction, but your review of 'Killing Lincoln' sounds like a wonderful way to learn more about this particular historical event and what was going on in our country at that time in our history.

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  4. Thanks Bev for a great review. While I am not particularly interested in American History, this sounds like it might be more interesting than I would have given it credit for. So the fact that you were totally immersed in this book gives me cause to rethink my position. I just may have to take up reading this book. Thanks for a great review.

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  5. It sounds like a book I'd like to read. I've been wondering about O'Reilly's books, so it's nice to read a review by someone who has read this.

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  6. Excellent review, Bev. I think my husband and I both would enjoy reading and discussing the "Wow, just wow!" moments that you mentioned.

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