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Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever (The Killing of Historical Figures)

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating Details  ·  57,721 Ratings  ·  5,229 Reviews

A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O'Reilly

The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America

Hardcover, First Edition, 324 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co.
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don presnell YES
I am as apolitical as possible, though even not wanting
not to be involved involves you.
I know nothing about politics, as I understand it this…more
I am as apolitical as possible, though even not wanting
not to be involved involves you.
I know nothing about politics, as I understand it this author
leans to the right. On personal interviews I've seen.
when someone pushes a television in front of me.
He's a bully Judge Judy meets the real world,
"Bill O' Reilly's" voice is soothing . It seems well researched
And if I am right is over 7 hours long if I decide to go to Tokyo
any how I, or really the computer owns it.

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 26, 2012 Stephanie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Bill O'Reilly fans
Recommended to Stephanie by: Book Club
You know what my biggest problem with this book is? Bill O'Reilly. I just can't get past the fact that a pompous, bombastic talk show host gets to write a best-selling historical non-fiction book when there are real historians (you know, the kind with Ph.D.s that know how to use footnotes) that can't even find jobs.

To be fair, it's very readable. O'Reilly and his co-author (who, alas, no one will remember) write in a very engaging manner. They do fall into the trap of over-speculating, saying t
Dec 01, 2012 Leslie rated it liked it
Just for the record - Bill O'Reilly is a conceited ass. His book jacket description of himself (gag) almost made me not read the book, but alas, it's this month's bookclub choice, and since I attend every book club without fail I did indeed give in to peer pressure.

Other than being terribly sad and kindof a downer obviously, it wasn't that bad. Lots of interesting details were included I'd never heard of before, and the novel form made it easier to read even if they did wildly speculate some of
When I walked into the theater to see the movie "Secretariat", I already knew Secretariat had won the Triple Crown. Still, my anxiety (and my pulse) increased during every race scene, and I cheered every victory. I chalk that up to terrific storytelling and a great director. And that's the same way I felt about this book.

Obviously, I knew what was going to happen before I read page one, but I found myself hoping someone would stop arrogant and narcissistic John Wilkes Booth before he could carry
Dec 15, 2012 Sandra rated it liked it
Recommended to Sandra by: Becky Herrick
I read some of the Goodreads' reviews for this book and honestly, some of them are just stupid commentaries on Bill O'Reilly, the TV talk show host. I already know who Bill O'Reilly is and didn't want anyone to opine - just tell me what you thought of the book, for Pete's sake.

Yes, Bill O'Reilly has written books and no, I hadn't read any of them. This one was on loan to me by a friend and I wasn't inspired to read it until after I saw the movie, "Lincoln." I agree with the reviews that describ
Feb 10, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
LOVED this book! I don't love that a great man was killed, but I love the way this book was put together. It did feel like a suspense novel...but full of history and truths that I have never heard about.

I liked how the chapters headed with the date and the time, and switched back and forth between Pres. Lincoln and JW Booth. I feel it gave both sides very well. You could almost understand the feelings Booth had and his reasoning for what he did, in his mind anyway.

I was doing very well just rea
Sheila DeChantal
Nov 27, 2011 Sheila DeChantal rated it liked it
In the spring of 1865, after a long day of meetings, Abraham Lincoln alongside his wife Mary, took to the theater. While Lincoln knew that he had a lot of enemies and had even thought there was a good chance he would be assassinated, he had no idea that his life was about to end.

John Wilkes Booth was an anchor and charismatic ladies man as well as an impenitent racist. His hatred for Lincoln burned so strong it was obsession. He stressed over the details for months... working out accomplices in
Timothy Lugg
Feb 06, 2013 Timothy Lugg rated it really liked it
The assassination of President Lincoln is one of those historical events that makes me cringe every time I think of it because of the tragic consequences. Lincoln would have been a far better man to handle reconstruction than Andrew Johnson by virtue of the fact that Lincoln had fought so hard to preserve the Union and Johnson nothing. Lincoln was already on record as desiring to give the states relatively easy terms to rejoin the Union and likely had a million more ideas in his head that would ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Kelli rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Lincoln's assassination was a devastating event following the deadliest war in American history. It is so unfortunate that President Lincoln, a man portrayed as being deeply distraught over the massive divide in our country, was never able to participate in the reconstruction and unification of that broken nation. Always interested in this topic, I watched this while visiting my dad last summer and subsequently grabbing the book from his bookshelf, only to recently opt for the audio version from ...more
Jan 20, 2013 Chuck rated it it was amazing
I don't often give books five stars, but I found it hard to criticize this book. I received this as a Christmas present from my mother-in-law and she couldn't have picked anything I would have enjoyed more. The book was thoroughly researched and well-written. It did present some interesting theories about a wider conspiracy than history normally reports, but it wasn't overly conspiratorial.

I enjoyed the description of Lee's desperate attempt to avoid Grant's army as he fled Petersberg, VA and t
Lori Mcdaniel
this book was very intriguing. i could not put it down. historical narrative that seriously reads like fiction. but -it's not! i particularly liked the pace of the book as each chapter revealed the timeline laid out before you. you literally feel that you are witnessing history as it is happening. this book chronicles one of the darkest times in our nation's history- the civil war and the disturbing emotions among the north and the south as they battle to the bloody end. i had no idea that gener ...more
The only things I remember about the Lincoln assassination were that he was shot in the back of the head at the theater by John Wilkes Booth, so this was an educational as well as an entertaining read.

The book begins at towards the end of the civil war and so the battle scenes were a real attention grabber. Things get a bit dull during the build up to the assassination, but are absolutely heart stopping during the murder and aftermath.

I had some problems with the writing style. I really liked t
Mar 18, 2012 Jeff rated it really liked it
Unfortunately, I think many may pass this novel by because co-author Bill O'Reilly is such a polarizing voice in political commentary today. Quite frankly, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America is one of the most riveting examples of historical non-fiction that I have ever read. Anyone with an interest in the U.S. Civil War, U.S. politics, and/or the U.S. Reconstruction era would be amiss in not taking advantage of the obviously laborious research and effort put forth ...more
Nov 26, 2011 Michael rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I cannot get enough from authors who write good historical narratives. Reading a book by Bill O'Reilly I wasn't sure what to expect. The real question is what part did Martin Dugard the co author play in the writing of this book? Whatever, the books writing reads like a story. This book does not bore you on dates, military battles, who is my right or left flank. No the reader is thrust into the last few months of the Civil War. The fall of Richmond and the surrender of Lee. Wh ...more
Dec 18, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was ok
I really tried too hard to like this book because I was determined not to be prejudiced because I find Bill O'Reilly to be such a jackass......Unfortunately he proved me right with this book. It can't really be considered a scholarly work on the topic because of all the fantasy situations he continually puts into the minds of the reader...."Lincoln felt the breeze on his forehead...." "Booth thought this....Booth thought that.." Mary Todd Lincoln is portrayed as simply being a dumb cow. It just ...more
Sep 25, 2012 Carl rated it liked it
A decent enough read. I could really picture the historical background and setting. While it is supposedly written like a thriller, I find it to be prone to errors as noted by one of the one-star reviewers here (i.e. talking about the Oval Office, which was not built when Lincoln was president, but in 1909 when Taft was president, and a gross misrepresentation of how Mary Surratt was treated -- she NEVER wore a hood while imprisoned, and she was NEVER on the "Montauk", etc.). Throwing in a long- ...more
Oct 19, 2011 Jacqui rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I recently had the pleasure of reading Bill O'Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard's wonderful book "Killing Lincoln". This is a sensational book written as a contemporary thriller and takes full use of this technique to avoid being a dull regurgitation of dates,facts and figures. This book is a thoroughly researched and documented effort to accurately describe the shocking and horrifying murder of perhaps America's greatest President.

I must confess my knowledge of the Civil War era is extreme
Nov 19, 2012 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I strongly dislike Bill O'Reilly for reasons that are obvious to those who have listened to him speak on political matters. It's not only that I disagree with most of what he says, but I especially object to his smug, superior attitude. However, I considered reading his book after he hawked it on TV several times and my cousin strongly recommended it. Even though she and I are political polars, I respect her opinion, and she assured me that O'Reilly was unbiased in this historical piece. I obtai ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Annalisa rated it liked it
While it was interesting to learn some of the details about Lincoln's assassination that I didn't know, this book is often repetitive and circular, teasing you with Civil War sentiments it never quite delves into. I know the book is not about the Civil War, but I found myself wishing it included more facts about Lincoln's policies during the war, more of his speeches, more of the country's sentiments and situation to set the scene for what the country lost when he was assassinated. I also wish t ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Ric rated it really liked it
Clooney, Pitt or DiCaprio? Well, who will it be? Consider: John Wilkes was a handsome, well-recognized, full-of-himself actor. And according to O'Reilly, he was angry and looking for more fame. So he assassinates a sitting US president. It's too good to be fiction. And history belongs to the best story-teller.
Jul 09, 2012 Brian rated it did not like it
Written slightly better than a 6th grade book report, this book manages to drain all the interest from a fascinating topic. It was basically a string of short, wiki-articles in chronological order. I couldn't find a single original thought in the entire 282 pages. It appears that each chapter is actually a watered-down, simplified summary of an article written by someone else.

The fact that Bill O'Reilly's name appears in ALL CAPS and a larger font than the title of the book provides a fairly goo
Oct 26, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
If you've ever watched a TV news magazine such as "48 Hours Mystery," this book employs a similar format in the way the facts are presented. The action starts with the last battle of the civil war followed by Robert E Lee's surrender at Appomattox. The book moves on to introduce us to John Wilkes Booth and President Lincoln. We learn of John Wilke's fanaticism, his intense hatred of everything President Lincoln and the north stood for, the foiled kidnapping plot, and his ultimate descent into lu ...more
Scott Rhee
I was genuinely surprised to find myself enjoying "Killing Lincoln" as much as I thought I would, mainly because I have read other books by Bill O'Reilly, and I found them to be pretty self-serving and pointless. O'Reilly's famous "pithiness" and his "no-spin" approach is actually somewhat annoying and disingenuous to me, and I actually like the guy. Of the FOX news personalities, I find O'Reilly to be the most moderate and tolerable, which is perhaps not saying much. It's no secret that I am a ...more
C.D. Coffelt
Oct 06, 2012 C.D. Coffelt rated it it was amazing
Sad to say, but Amazon is not the place to go for sincere reviews. After reading some of the vitriol about Killing Lincoln’s authors, even sincere comments from those who actually read the book and didn't care for it are suspect in my eyes.

I’ll go elsewhere from now on, not only for reviews but also to purchase. Amazon has lost its credibility. GoodReads is the place to go for honesty.
Killing Lincoln is a systematic process, following plausible, well-documented leads, laying out facts like a la
Chris Taber
Oct 08, 2012 Chris Taber rated it it was ok
I'm not a huge fan of the O'Reilly Factor, not because I find anything terribly objectionable about O'Reilly, but because I get most of my news and opinion by reading. Several years ago, before he became as successful as he is now, I read (I think) two of his earlier novels, neither of which were particular noteworthy, but which were quick easy reads and enjoyable enough...though not so memorable.

That's kind of how I felt about Killing Lincoln. Coming on the heels of having read an excellent bio
Walt Giersbach
Jul 23, 2012 Walt Giersbach rated it it was ok
Lincoln’s assassination in 1865 was as shocking as President Kennedy’s almost a century later, but reflected a country still polarized by war. Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard unrolls the drama leading up to John Wilkes Booth’s infamous act while unveiling the band of amateur conspirators. In fact, history classes tend to skip over the widespread rabid hatred of Lincoln and the motley group that conspired to murder the President. Perhaps it’s good to be reminded of such things. ...more
Lisa Davis
Sep 03, 2012 Lisa Davis rated it it was ok
While interesting, this account of the Lincoln assassination was sadly disappointing. There are no references or footnotes cited. There are many instances when the authors presume a person is thinking one way or another without any witnesses or documented corroboration. For example, the authors speculate what President Lincoln is thinking when he sits alone in Jefferson Davis' office in Richmond after the Union has taken over the Confederate's Capitol. There is no mention that President Lincoln ...more
Jan 15, 2012 Terri rated it liked it
Yes, before someone points it out, I know there were some historical errors in the book. Yes, I know that the Stanton conspiracy theory has been largely discounted; however, I thought the book treated it that way as well. I'm not even particularly an O'Reilly fan. Many years ago, I did visit Ford's Theater and the tiny bedroom in the house across the street where Lincoln actually died. I thought this book started off a little bit slowly with some of the information about the last retreat of the ...more
Dec 07, 2011 Contessa rated it really liked it
Nonfiction is not my genre of choice; however, I have been reading a lot of nonfiction these days. My father is a HUGE Bill O'Reilly fan and I borrowed this book from my mom's Kindle. My husband is a big history buff and our T.V. is normally set to either Discovery channel or the History channel at night. This book has taught me that there are much more interesting thrillers and stories to be found through history than any fiction book author could invent. This book was very engaging and held my ...more
Jan 31, 2013 Staciel rated it really liked it

I was really reluctant to give this book to my hubby for Christmas, but am glad that I did... We live in a Republican/Democrat marriage, and I thought, 'A Bill O'Reilly book will only cause trouble'

If you are avoiding this book for 'political reasons' as I was, you need not worry-- this book is strictly about Lincoln, and presenting the story of end of the Civil War and his assassination in a 'thriller format'.

While much of the dialog must have come from the author's imagination, I have to say t
Feb 11, 2013 Lydia rated it it was amazing
Borrowing from historical documents, soldier and general memoirs, as well as biographies, Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard focus Killing Lincoln on the final fourteen days leading to President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth on April 14, 1865, and the manhunt that followed. It’s a compilation non-fiction work, written with the flourish of an intense thriller.

The final nine days of the Civil War follow Confederate General Robert E. Lee chasing supplies and reinforcements for h
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Great Book!!! 7 39 Aug 27, 2015 08:56PM  
Discuss @ Carroll...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Killing Lincoln book discussion 14 107 Nov 28, 2014 08:43AM  
What would you rate this book? 23 118 Aug 15, 2014 12:34AM  
Did O'Reilly do a good job? 64 243 Aug 14, 2014 06:31AM  
Factual Errors 12 440 Jun 03, 2014 08:49AM  
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Bill O'Reilly is an American television/radio host, author, syndicated columnist, and political commentator. He is the host of the cable news program The O'Reilly Factor. Prior to hosting The O'Reilly Factor, he served as anchor of the entertainment program, Inside Edition.

O'Reilly also hosts The Radio Factor, a radio program syndicated by Westwood One, and he has written seven books.

More about Bill O'Reilly...

Other Books in the Series

The Killing of Historical Figures (5 books)
  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot
  • Killing Jesus: A History
  • Killing Patton: The Strange Death of World War II's Most Audacious General
  • Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency

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“In reference to the search for Lincoln's killers as it took to the Maryland swamps:

"The method of searching the swamps is simple yet arduous. First, the troops assemble on the edge of bogs with names like Allen’s Creek, Scrub Swamp, and Atchall’s Swamp, standing at loose attention in the shade of a thick forest of beech, dogwood, and gum trees. Then they form two lines and march straight forward, from one side to the other. As absurd as it seems to the soldiers, marching headlong into cold mucky water, there is no other way of locating Booth and Herold. Incredibly, eighty-seven of these brave men will drown in their painstaking weeklong search for the killers.”
“Put down your guns and go home. Let’s rebuild the nation together. This was President Lincoln’s vision, to which Grant subscribed.” 1 likes
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