This may shock Americans over 40 years of age, as well as conspiracy theorists, but not all of us know much about President Kennedy or his assassinati...moreThis may shock Americans over 40 years of age, as well as conspiracy theorists, but not all of us know much about President Kennedy or his assassination. Never having much of an interest in politics or post-1935 American History, everything I knew about John Fitzgerald Kennedy (until reading this book) I learned from conspiracy theories and The Simpsons.
So for me, this book was an excellent education. I learned a lot about a President I had never before considered terribly interesting, about why people seemed to care so much about his wife, and about the pre-assassination life of Lee Harvey Oswald. And frankly, I admire O'Reilly & Dugard's restraint in avoiding the by-now-predictable conspiracy theories. As with their depiction of Lincoln, it's clear that both of these men deeply respect Kennedy, but they don't shy away from his (well-documented) infidelities and political machinations. It isn't as strong or moving (for me anyway) as Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, but it's incredibly informative and it actually helped me better understand the history of the Civil Rights movement in America -- which I was definitely not expecting.(less)
"Scrooge was never interested in what money could buy (obviously, since he never spends it!) and never lost sight of his 'Rosebud' -- that it's the me...more"Scrooge was never interested in what money could buy (obviously, since he never spends it!) and never lost sight of his 'Rosebud' -- that it's the memories and personal achievements behind his fortune that give it value in his life. And yet, the burden of protecting his fortune from the greedy hands of those who want it for all the wrong reasons will always prevent him from being as content as his nephew Donald, for whom a simple ice cream soda is complete happiness."
--Don Rosa, "The Making of 'The Richest Duck in the World'"--(less)
This was a delightful read, especially when read on the heels of "Killing Lincoln". The two books quote many of the same sources, focus on many of the...moreThis was a delightful read, especially when read on the heels of "Killing Lincoln". The two books quote many of the same sources, focus on many of the same details, and both utilized a format which mingled the best of the thriller and biography genres. For me, at least, the book's only real flaw was its ending -- an abrupt, somewhat disjointed conclusion to what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable read.(less)
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...moreThere 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 one of the latter. I've seen his show often enough to know that most of the criticisms leveled against him are empty, emotional invective based on what the critics THINK they know about him, and come as a result of his statements being taken out of context, but I am also "politically agnostic" and so have little patience for pundits in general.
All that said, this book is NOT ABOUT BILL O'REILLY. What is more, he's not the only author -- he teamed up with Martin Dugard for this book. No modern parallels are drawn, no modern commentary, and I get the feeling that both authors take history seriously and are genuinly enthusiastic about the history of the Civil War within its historical context.
This is a book about the final weeks leading up to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth president of the United States of America. It is about the final battles at the end of the US Civil War, the last gasp of Southern secessionism and the various personalities that oversaw this tragic but formative period of American history. It is about the human beings who lived through these events and the impacts they had, for good or ill. Do O'Reilly and Dugard put their personal stamps on the text? Absolutely. These men clearly adore Lincoln, detest Booth, cheer for the North, are pro-abolitionist, pro-black, and pro-Mary Todd Lincoln. But they also do their best to balance all this with honest appraisals of the people and events: Lincoln's fondness for "blackface" comedy, Mary Todd Lincoln's apparent pscyhological instability, the suffering and humanity of the Southern military, the infighting among Northern troops, the hatred many Northerners felt for Lincoln before his death, and the popularity of John Wilkes Booth before the assassination are all included. I particularly admire the authors' evenhanded approach to Lincoln's expansion of the Federal government's power & authority, given that -- as far as I'm aware -- Bill O'Reilly is openly opposed to Federal "overreach" today.
Also worth noting is that this book is written in the form of a thriller and in present-tense. According to the author's note, this is because O'Reilly & Dugard wanted people to understand that history is more than a dry accumulation of names and dates and places, that "history" is the narrative we create from lived moments which seemed as immediate and intense to those living them as do our own lives. As a result there are no footnotes or endnotes (which, by the way, IS AWESOME for those of us who have to endlessly read foot/endnotes professionally), but there is a short catalog at the end noting all the primary and secondary sources they used and recommending certain books for certain topics. The overall intent of the book seems to be to convey the events of the assassination as part of a lived narrative and to encourage readers to do further research into the Civil War, the life of Abraham Lincoln, and the history of the American presidency. It succeeds admirably at both of these, and I think this would be an excellent way of introducing people to the idea of lived history.(less)
It's a good introduction, both to Joseph Smith Jr.'s life and to his teachings, but it's fairly sparse. Its strengths are probably: the breadth of the...moreIt's a good introduction, both to Joseph Smith Jr.'s life and to his teachings, but it's fairly sparse. Its strengths are probably: the breadth of the teachings included, the attempt to contextualize them historically; and the lack of "Mormon-only" cultural jargon. Judging it as a lesson manual, I'd give it 4 stars; judging it just as a collection of his teachings, I'm going to have to give it 3 stars.
Also worth noting is that I actually got to see an early copy of this, a year or three before it was actually published. The original copy was much shorter -- more in line with the other books in the series -- and I think they were wiser to expand it. The task of choosing which teachings and which historical events to include must have been daunting.(less)
With apologies to Robert E. Howard: "Hither came Teddy Roosevelt, the President, blonde-haired, four-eyed, gun in hand, a politician, a reaver, a slay...moreWith apologies to Robert E. Howard: "Hither came Teddy Roosevelt, the President, blonde-haired, four-eyed, gun in hand, a politician, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his boot-clad feet." Theodore Roosevelt was not without his flaws, but he was a truly incredible man. This man led a life which can only be described as "unbelievable". It is literally hard to believe. Morris does an incredible job of contextualizing the important, contemporary political and social issues which Roosevelt encountered, shaped and created leading up to Pres. Mc Kinley's assasination and Roosevelt's receipt of the presidency -- issues which most Americans today cannot truly understand, and about which most Americans today know nothing. This is the kind of book I wish I'd been assigned in High School, the kind of book which I would have devoured as a boy. It ends, powerfully, with the delivery of the letter indicating that the President Mc Kinley had died. I cannot wait to read the next two volumes! (less)