Stephanie's Reviews > Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever

Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
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Oct 25, 2011

it was amazing
Read in October, 2011

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 lunacy as he plans the assassination of Lincoln and other top government officials along with his group of sick, twisted cronies.

We meet and grow to appreciate Mr. Lincoln on a personal level....he is down to earth, he loves his wife, and he wants only to welcome the south back to the bosom of the union. As his remaining days and hours tick down to nothing, the sense of dread is almost palpable. I ended up with a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat because I knew how this would turn out. The destinies of Booth and Lincoln ultimately collide in a catastrophic way at Ford's Theatre. I cried my eyes out, even knowing what would happen....a true testament to the power of the words on the pages of this book.

And what makes Mr. Lincoln's assassination particularly tragic and frustrating is that it was so senseless and could easily have been prevented. There were several people who knew this was going to happen, but they chose not to warn the authorities. The presidential security detail was SO appalling, that today's average high school sophomore could have developed a more comprehensive presidential security detail....but no president had ever been assassinated before, and the folks of that era did not yet have any real grasp on the human capacity for evil. There are so many "shoulda, coulda, woulda's."

In the book, the characters give voice to thoughts and feelings that can only be speculation on the part of the authors. I thought this technique helped us get inside their heads a bit. If you want a straight recitation of facts, dates, and places, this isn't your book.
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