Killing Lincoln – Bill O’Reilly

I’ve read Killing Lincoln because I’m interested in the history of the USA and I saw many very positive comments about this book. A lot of reviews mentioned Bill O’Reilly himself because they obviously didn’t like the man. Well, I don’t know him at all, so to me that was no problem. However, when I started reading the “note to readers” I was surprised. It looked like mr O’Reilly was writing his book solely for US-residents. Since I’m living in Europe, wasn’t I supposed to read it? “our nation”, “our country”. “our lives”, this all doesn’t apply to me. Nevertheless, I really would like to know the real story about the murder of Abe Lincoln, so I decided to keep on reading anyway.

Killing Lincoln is an entertaining and easy to read novel. Of course you know how the story ends and more or less how it happened but O’Reilly gives a lot of interesting details about the Civil War, the assassination of Lincoln and its aftermath.

What I didn’t like was the frequent use of sentences like “by this time next week…”, “what he doesn’t now is that he will…”. I know they don’t know what will happen in the future. You don’t have to tell me that often, it’s annoying.

What I dislike most about this book is the fact that O’Reilly promises to tell the real story, “what really happened”. Yet there is a lot of fiction in this book. The emotions and thoughts of the persons involved are unknown to anyone but themselves. It even looks like he endorses a conspiracy theory that Stanton is involved in the killing. A theory largely discounted. That makes it hard to believe that everything happened exactly the way O’Reilly describes. A bit of a disappointment though.

Because of the entertaining read and the things I learned from this novel, my verdict is 3 stars.


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