Thursday, March 1, 2012

Killing Lincoln

Should I be worried that our book club chose books back-to-back about assassinating presidents? Like, should I alert Homeland Security? I was pretty sure we are a benign group of women, but now I'm not so sure.

Just kidding. Our latest "book-chooser" is a government teacher and a lawyer; I think that probably played into the genre a little. :)

Anyway, we read Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly. Observe the cover: does it indict O'Reilly in the assassination? O'Reilly says that there are many complicated conspiracies regarding Lincoln's assassination. . . maybe he was part of one!


I would give this book a B-. First of all, and the rest of the book club disagreed with me, I thought there was too much narrative on the Civil War. It felt like a historian couldn't help himself and went overboard on details of battles and such. Much like if you asked me what a modifier is. . . I could literally go on and on and on. And not everyone would appreciate it.

Second of all, there were actually four historical errors in the book, including a reference to the Oval Office (which wasn't completed until after Lincoln's death).

But there were a lot of interesting details, too. Like how interconnected Lincoln and his assassin were: John Wilkes Booth was secretly engaged to a woman who also spent some time with Lincoln's son. And also, Booth's brother saved Lincoln's son from being run over by a train (or something like that. . . as I am not a historian, I do not feel an obligation to be historically accurate.)

Let me just say that Booth was a psychopath. I truly believe he was deluded into thinking he would be a hero for killing Lincoln. Our book club all agreed that we think fame was his primary motivation and not some righteous political objective. When he was in hiding after the assassination and learned via newspapers that people were calling him a coward and a criminal instead of a hero, he was devastated. Duh, dude. YOU KILLED THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES FIVE DAYS AFTER HE WON THE WAR.

As I said, we read this right after we read The Kennedy Detail, and did you know there are some crazy similarities between the two assassinations? It's almost too much to believe, and yet there the proof is.

If you are a fan of O'Reilly or Lincoln but not a fan of big, intense history books, you might like this one. It read pretty quickly (except for the battle stuff, but like I said, I was alone in that) and gave a good overview of who was who during that era of our history.

Our next book is The 19th Wife, and having just finished it, I cannot WAIT to share the details with you. It was crazy fascinating. But we don't meet until the end of the month, so you'll have to wait awhile for the recap. :)

1 comment:

  1. I just read your link to the similarities. That's ca-razy!