Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever” as Want to Read:
Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  71,906 Ratings  ·  5,687 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.
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Killing Lincoln, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Jessica Killingbeck I gave it one star because I couldn't have been more bored reading this book. I felt like the books I read in history class and watching the history…moreI gave it one star because I couldn't have been more bored reading this book. I felt like the books I read in history class and watching the history channel shed more light on the assassination than this book did. I had to force myself read it in order to finish it, and as someone who loves to read and who likes historical fiction, that's saying a lot.(less)
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.


Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Feb 22, 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
Feb 11, 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
Oct 03, 2015 Britany rated it really liked it
I kept hearing about this book and no matter what your politics are, this story is worth reading. I listened on audio- the author, Bill O'Reilly narrates (which can be grating at times if I'm being truly honest, but he is passionate!). I found myself on the end of my seat (literally!). Even though, we all know the story about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, I never knew all the details that led up to that detrimental night. This felt more like a narrative thriller than a historical non-fic ...more
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
Timothy Lugg
Feb 04, 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
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
Dec 30, 2014 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
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
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
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
Jeff Richey
Mar 18, 2012 Jeff Richey 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 25, 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
Jan 20, 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.
Mar 18, 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
I enjoy the Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard books as they make for very 'readable' history lessons. And it was an excellent idea of one of my GR group members that we read a book about a president for the month of February.

Although I (and likely everyone) knows the story of President Lincoln's assassination, this book lent much detail of the 'behind-the-scenes' plotting and planning as well as insight into John Wilkes Booth. And added details to raise the question of whether or not he acted alon
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
[Name Redacted]
Mar 18, 2012 [Name Redacted] rated it really liked it
There appear to be two kinds of people who read this book: those who hate Bill O'Reilly and those who enjoy the book. Every negative review I've read has invariably been prefaced by a profession of hate for the polarizing pundit, followed by vague intimations that the book has flaws and a grudging admission that the book itself actually wasn't bad; every positive review either seems to come from someone who likes O'Reilly or doesn't seem to care one way or the other about him. I am definitely on ...more
Nov 18, 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
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
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
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
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
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 23, 2012 James rated it really liked it
A slow beginning to a riveting story. We know the main characters from the hurried lessons in our American History classes. Now we learn more about the conspiracy and the investigation after the murder that changed our country and took away one of the few real statesmen the world has known. A quick and easy to read page turner. This book remains me that American history was one of my favorite subjects in my yout(h). I have several historical novels lined up to read in the near future.
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
Nicolette Harding
Jan 05, 2017 Nicolette Harding rated it really liked it
My super dorky new years resolution is to read one book about each President. I started here with Lincoln due to the librarys.lack of.good kindle books on Washington. But. what a great start. The conspiracy to assassinate Lincoln was great but what was even.greater.was.the bizarre coincidences with the Lincoln family and JW Booth. Very chilly. And who knew my cousin Dr. Charles Taft was one of the doctors to come to Lincolns aid in Fords theater! Great read.
Oct 25, 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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Did O'Reilly do a good job? 64 248 Feb 02, 2017 11:17PM  
What would you rate this book? 24 122 Jan 20, 2017 02:51AM  
Part 2 - The Ides of Death 1 1 Jan 18, 2017 09:17AM  
The Worst Bestsel...: Episode 46 - Killing Lincoln 5 16 Apr 12, 2016 11:57PM  
  • Being George Washington
  • A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror
  • Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan
  • Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies: The Real West
  • The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You've Always Believed about Thomas Jefferson
  • The Real George Washington
  • The Amateur
  • 41: A Portrait of My Father
  • The Miracle of Freedom: Seven Tipping Points That Saved the World
  • Ameritopia: The Unmaking of America
  • The Presidents Club: Inside the World's Most Exclusive Fraternity
  • The Reagan Diaries
  • George Washington's Sacred Fire
  • SEAL Target Geronimo: The Inside Story of the Mission to Kill Osama bin Laden
  • Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
  • In My Time: A Personal and Political Memoir
  • The Roots of Obama's Rage
  • To Try Men's Souls (Revolutionary War, #1)
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 (6 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
  • Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan

Share This Book

“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.”
“If I am killed I can die but once,” he is fond of saying, “but to live in constant dread is to die over and over again.” 1 likes
More quotes…