author of The Lion and The Gold Coast on Killing L Nelson DeMille
As a history major, I wish my required reading had been as well written as this truly vivid and emotionally engaging account of Lincoln's assassination. And as a former combat infantry officer, I found myself running for cover at the Civil War battle scenes. This is the story of an American tragedy that changed the course of history. If you think you know this story, you don't until you've read Killing Lincoln. Add historian to Bill O'Reilly's already impressive résumé.
Children's Literature - Greg M. Romaneck
Bill O'Reilly is a noted conservative television and print commentator but what many people may not know is that in his earlier years he was a history teacher. Over the past year O'Reilly has received critical praise for his historical monograph Killing Lincoln, which detailed the events leading up to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. In Lincoln's Last Days O'Reilly and Dwight Zimmerman recreate that research and study in a version of their previous work aimed at a younger audience. As was the case with their more comprehensive historical monograph, Lincoln's Last Days provides readers with a highly informative look back at one of the darkest crimes in American history. In order to do this sad tale justice, O'Reilly and Zimmerman take their readers back to a time when the Civil War had ended but not the evil machinations that provoked it. In telling this story the authors combine an eye for historical detail with fascinating portraits of the parties involved in Lincoln's death. The juxtaposition of Booth and his conspirators who acted with tragically flawed energy aimed at a terrible result, with President Lincoln's stoicism in the face of the heaviest responsibility imaginable represents the core of this book's narrative. As the pages turn the reader almost wishes that Booth will fail but historical facts cannot be changed and the clock may not be turned back. Booth succeeded in his flawed mission and the course of American history was changed. Successful as well are the authors of this swift aced and well written illustrated history that does justice to one of the saddest days in the nation's saga. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
From the Publisher
“This thrillerlike adaptation captures the excitement of the Union victory in the Civil War and the shock and horror that quickly followed as the country learned of Lincoln's death and sought revenge on his assassins. The popularity of O'Reilly's adult title will drive interest in this version, but it definitely stands alone and will find an audience among general readers and report writers.” School Library Journal
“Accessible to younger readers.” Booklist
“As a history major, I wish my required reading had been as well written as this truly vivid and emotionally engaging account of Lincoln's assassination. And as a former combat infantry officer, I found myself running for cover at the Civil War battle scenes. This is the story of an American tragedy that changed the course of history. If you think you know this story, you don't until you've read Killing Lincoln. Add historian to Bill O'Reilly's already impressive résumé.” Nelson DeMille, author of The Lion and The Gold Coast
“Killing Lincoln is a must-read historical thriller. Bill O'Reilly recounts the dramatic events of the spring of 1865 with such exhilarating immediacy that you will feel like you are walking the streets of Washington DC on the night that John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln. This is a hugely entertaining, heart-stopping read.” Vince Flynn, author of American Assassin
“If Grisham wrote a novel about April 1865 . . . it might well read like Killing Lincoln.” Peter J. Boyer, Newsweek
“[Killing Lincoln] delivers a taut, action-packed narrative with cliff-hangers aplenty.” The Christian Science Monitor
“[Killing Lincoln] is nonfiction, albeit told in white-knuckled, John Grisham-like style.” New York Post
School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—This skillfully abridged and adapted edition of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln (Holt, 2011) retains the format of the adult title with brief chapters written in a present tense, "you are there" style. It opens in the often-chaotic closing days of the Civil War, capturing the jubilation following Lee's surrender, the events of Lincoln's last days, and Booth's obsessive hatred of Lincoln and his conspiracy to assassinate him. It then describes the shooting and Lincoln's final hours and death, the manhunt for Booth and his allies, Booth's death, and the speedy trial and execution of his coconspirators. An afterword relates the fates of other important figures, and appendixes include a "Lincoln's World" that provides facts about aspects of the Civil War, time lines, and Lincoln-related Washington, DC, locations. Well-captioned illustrations, which include maps and period photos of the major players and significant locations, appear on almost every page and are both informative and interesting. This thrillerlike adaptation captures the excitement of the Union victory in the Civil War and the shock and horror that quickly followed as the country learned of Lincoln's death and sought revenge on his assassins. The popularity of O'Reilly's adult title will drive interest in this version, but it definitely stands alone and will find an audience among general readers and report writers. Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic, 2009), the YA version of James L. Swanson's adult best-seller, is more narrowly focused on the conspiracy and the massive manhunt for Booth.—Mary Mueller, formerly at Rolla Junior High School, MO
Read an Excerpt
The man with six weeks to live is anxious.
He furls his brow and walks out of the Capitol Building, which is nearing completion. 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 on 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.
Suddenly, the sun bursts through the clouds as he speaks, its light enveloping the tall and outwardly serene Lincoln. But 120 miles away in the Virginia railroad junction of Petersburg, any thought of serenity is a fantasy.