Reviewing the Pages: Killing Lincoln

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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’s Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln’s generous terms for Robert E. Lee’s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln’s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies’ man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country’s most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, “Killing Lincoln” is history that reads like a thriller.

I don’t own very many non-fiction books that I haven’t used in one or another for my schooling. However, ever since I first heard about this book, I was intrigued. I really enjoy learning about US History, so when this book came out, I was intrigued. And once I got it…it sat on my shelves for years. Always getting pushed back for book after book. But, I finally decided to sit down and read this book.

Now, for those of you who are a little wary about reading a non-fiction book, let me tell you it’s not dry. This book reads more like what my brain thinks a novel based off a documentary would look like. The pace doesn’t leave you bored, or wanting you to contemplate the inside of your eyelids. The entire focus of the book, minus the last chapter and afterword, deal with the month of April of 1865. It weaves many of major stories at the time, with the end of the Civil War and transitioning into the Reconstruction period with the evolving plot of Lincoln’s assassination, and the subsequent manhunt after Lincoln get shot.

For those of you who like history, and especially the era of the Civil War and President Lincoln, than this read is for you.

Now, the only thing that I wasn’t really into in this book is the massive amount of suspension that we get when it comes to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.  Throughout the book, we get a lot of “he may have been involved with this plot because he seems shady”.  And for all we know, he may have.  After all, he was in possession of Booth’s diary after Booth’s murder and there are pages missing that have not (to my recollection) been recovered.  But, was he actually plotting against Lincoln for the same reasons that our conspirators were, or was it for his own gain? Unless one has a DeLorean or a TARDIS, I don’t think we’ll ever find out that answer.

But, I’m glad I did decide to sit down and read this book, and learn much more about the end of Lincoln’s life, much more than I have ever had (and this includes a tour of Ford’s Theater and the Petersen House during my week stint in D.C., which I would LOVE to go back to D.C. in the future).  I love learning about history, and all of the little bits and pieces that make up the much bigger picture.  For those of your who are history lovers, and for those of you who can put aside your dislike for one of the authors, then I recommend this book to you.  As for me, I’m now want to check out the following book, Killing Kennedy, to see if it’s just as thrilling and entrapping as this one was.

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