Having just read Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, I was interested to read more about the plot to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, and Bill O’Reilly’s book didn’t disappoint. Every child learns in history class that President Abraham Lincoln was killed by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater. But, O’Reilly spins a tale so gripping, that you feel like you are reading a really engrossing work of fiction. His writing style makes history fun to read.
Booth was not acting solo. He was a hired gun on the Confederate payroll and had several accomplices working with him. I don’t recall learning that in school.
There is obviously so much information about Lincoln, his presidency and his murder, that it is impossible to include everything in a book. Killing Lincoln included information not revealed in Goodwin’s book – although the latter was nearly 1,000 pages long. I learned that Lincoln had dreams foreshadowing his demise and had a bad feeling about going to the theater that night. O’Reilly makes interesting comparisons between Lincoln and Julius Caesar being murdered on the Ides; and also like Jesus Christ, Lincoln (the savior of the Union and the man who freed men from the bonds of slavery) died on Good Friday.
The book also details how John Wilkes Booth was hired by the Confederates to kidnap Lincoln, and how the plot turned into murder. I found the story of Booth and the manhunt that followed the assassination fascinating.
This was a very impressive book! I’m definitely going to read more of Bill O’Reilly’s works of history.
5 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2011