Killing Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly
This book was recommended to me by a friend who knows I'm kinda interested in the Civil War, so imagine my excitement when someone got me a copy as a present! Within 20% (it is the ebook edition ) excitement turned to dismay and disappointment. O'Reilly seems to go out of his way to get little details wrong, details that can be fact-checked with Google. He describes the assassination derringer as a "brass pistol;" it's not brass at all. Phillip Barton Key didn't shoot anyone in Washington; he himself was shot to death by Dan Sickles. And what does that have to do with the assassination, anyway? If I could get by the inaccurate details, I still had to contend with the dreadful writing style. In a pulp western that I'd bought to relieve the boredom of a trip I could find it excusable, but the purple prose was dreadful for a history. The photos are Library of Congress shots we've all seen thousands of times, I suspect included because they were cheap. He trots out conspiracy theories without really developing them. How was Stanton involved? "He was involved. Film at 11. Next up..." The book is also subtitled "The Shocking Assassination that Changed America." By the end of the book I'd expect some analysis to support this thesis, but there is none. Lincoln is dead and buried, the conspirators tried and hanged, that's that and the book ends. It added up to a disturbing disappointment. Mostly, with the ridiculous tone and intrusive innaccuracies, it felt like reading a bad reenactment. There was some period stuff, and some period feel, but in the end it just didn't hold up. Sigh, at least I didn't have to clean a musket or sleep on the ground as part of the experience. I didn't feel bad when I deleted it from my Kindle, though. I just wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. You can get more accurate information almost anywhere and the writing style just doesn't make it a compelling enough read to get by the mistakes.
Pine River Boys, Co I, 7th Wisconsin
"We're... Christians, what read the Bible and foller what it says about lovin' your enemies and carin' for them what despitefully use you -- that is, after you've downed 'em good and hard."
-Si Klegg and His Pard Shorty