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[Book Review] “Killing Lincoln”

Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard is a fascinating read for anyone with an interest in the time surrounding Lincoln’s death; and an even better read for those who do not have much of an interest.  This book will make you interested!  The amount of research and effort that was put into the writing of this book is incredible, and it makes for an amazing journey through the weeks leading up to Lincoln’s death! 

There are so many small things in the book that hardly anyone knows about the time period; little things about Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth; about the commanding officers on both the Union and Confederate armies; about the rest of Booth’s conspirators; about the precise planning that went into the assassination; and about Lincoln himself.  The book gives you a real glimpse into how different life was back then; the President walked the streets and went for carriage rides with his wife, just like every other citizen.  Lincoln’s case, however, was different in that he was certain his life would be ended by an assassin.  The authors give a very detailed account of Lincoln’s way of life, his thought process, and what he treasured most. 

This book really gives you the feeling that you are there, in Washington, inside the White House.  You feel like you are right in the middle of all that is going on, in the chaos that ensued after the end of the Civil War– or what appeared to be the end.  The emotion the authors show in the book is incredible.  You get so wrapped up in what is happening that you will walk away from this book with a completely different perspective on what happened on that horrible day.

I will be honest and say that the Civil War period has never been one I studied by my own choice; I knew much about it already and never chose to pursue it further.  In my mind, Lincoln’s assassination was something done by a man in the height of his rage against the President and the North.  After reading Killing Lincoln, I can say that my perspective has changed.  The planning that went into the assassination was remarkably clever, to say the least.  There were three assassinations set to take place at precisely 10:15 PM on that April 14th, 1865; but only one was carried out.  I could tell you so many more interesting things about this book, but I would suggest that you just find out for yourself!

Kudos to Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Dugard for such a fantastic book!  I would love to see more books just like it from them, taking other events in American history and making them into novels just like this one.

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