2011 Best Seller book review of the New York Times Best Seller, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that changed America forever will not be complete without taking a note of the fact that its author Martin Dugard is not a historical author. The book has been authored more as an enthusiast’s outlook than as a historical account.
Killing Lincoln – skims the surface of many subjects
While O’Reilly and Dugard touch on many themes and issues that America faced as it struggled to end the civil war they treat none in depth. They provide fuel to the conspiracy theories regarding the assassination. They raise many questions but delve into none in great detail or with any satisfaction. O’Reilly and Dugard have written this book as part thriller and part history. Though the title states that the book deals exclusively to the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, it talks about the time from the time before the assassination to the eventual manhunt and rounding up of the guilty. While the facts and sequences discussed in Killing Lincoln are mostly accurate, the narrative moves along quickly and breezily and skims along the surface while the subject deserves a more detailed and in-depth analysis and is a weighted topic which is not treated the same.
Killing Lincoln – The book is marked by errors and the historical figures are simplified.
Historical Errors are a put off in any book, and when it touches a famous historical identity such as Abraham Lincoln, it leaves a bad taste. There is a regular appearance of errors in the book Killing Lincoln such as the fact that although the Oval Office did not exist in Abraham Lincoln’s time, it has been referenced in Killing Lincoln. We can however, excuse these with the knowledge that Bill O’Reily has written this book with a true passion for Abraham Lincoln.
The historical figures are portrayed in a simplified manner, with Abraham Lincoln as the long- suffering hero and Booth as evil personified. The authors continually narrate from the viewpoint of how events unfolded. So every action of Lincoln is interpreted and painted with a fatalistic brush. Hence when it comes to his daily routine during the final days, it is given more as a sign than the fact that it was Abraham Lincoln’s daily routine.
In ending this 2011 best seller book review, I find that Killing Lincoln qualifies as a thorough entertainer, having just the right dose of conspiracy theories, historical facts and the strong narrative that binds it all together.