Killing Lincoln – My Late Summer Read

Saturday, March 4, 1865
Washington, D.C.

The man with six weeks to live is anxious.

He furls his brow, as he does countless times each day, and walks out of the Capitol Building, which is nearing completion. He is exhausted, almost numb.

Fifty thousand men and women stand in pouring rain and ankle-deep mud to watch Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office to begin his second term. His new vice president, Andrew Johnson, has just delivered a red-faced, drunken, twenty-minute ramble vilifying the South that has left the crowd squirming, embarrassed by Johnson’s inebriation.

So when Lincoln steps up to the podium and delivers an eloquent appeal for reunification, the spiritual message of his second inaugural address is all the more uplifting. ‘With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations,’ the president intones humbly.

killing-lincoln-oreilly-2011Such is how Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever (Henry Holt, 2011) begins (Prologue), which has become my late summer history read. And a few chapters into the book, I am enjoying it immensely. The Civil War and Lincoln’s presidency were a critical time in our country’s history, and I need to regain the knowledge of this period and leader. And as the sub-title states, the assassination of this powerful leader “changed American forever.” That is the focus of this book.

You may know that O’Reilly and Dugard have combined to write several “killing” stories, including Killing England, Killing Reagan, and Killing Jesus. Well, I had heard good things about these books but had never read one myself. A few weeks ago I was in Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, browsing the used biography section and came on this title on Lincoln, so I grabbed it – a first edition hardcover for $7.00 – a bargain.

I would be interested in what you may have read in this series and what you think of it – and whether you have any other suggestions for what to read next in the series, if I continue to like it.

Published in: on August 29, 2018 at 10:37 PM  Comments (4)