Review: KILLING LINCOLN by Bill O’Reilly

Some participants do not have blogs of their own, but we like to give them an opportunity to express their opinions about the books they read for the reading challenges.

Reva read Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard for the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge. Here is her review.

Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America ForeverKilling Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This history reads like a thriller with heart, regret and national mourning as relevant today as 150 years ago. I never realized President Lincoln was murdered only days after the surrender or that most assassinations do occur in the last gasp of war. No money was set aside for protecting the president, so the ONE person who sometimes performed that service was actually being paid for preventing vandalism to the White House. This person was off drinking in the pub next door when John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln that fateful night, but was not held responsible in any way for his dereliction to duty. Also, the public had free run of the White House around the clock with no oversight. People would sleep in the hallways, seeking whatever Lincoln could offer them. The president, himself, didn’t worry about his safety. It was not uncommon to see him watching a battle from a nearby hill or riding among the people. He was a real man of the people.

John Wilkes Booth got his worst punishment before he was shot in that barn. He found out that his fellow Southerners did not praise, laud or uphold his killing the president. He had thought his actions would cause the South to rise again and cause such consternation in the North as to give the South a shot at winning in the end. Booth’s spirit was broken before his body as everything he held dear slipped away.

If you go to Amazon, you’ll notice that all reviews are either 1 or 5 stars. That’s because liberals are sabotaging the ratings system. If you read their ratings, you’ll realize they didn’t read the book. Rather than scare me off, I bought, read and loved this book and hope to further my research by reading more of Lincoln’s life and messages to and for America, land of the free.

View all my reviews

**Attention participants: Remember to email us a link to your reviews, and we’ll post them here so we can see what everyone is reading!**

Audio Book Giveaways for Civil War Challenge Participants

Macmillan Audio is generously offering 3 audio books to participants in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge.  Here are the books up for grabs (click the links to access audio excerpts):

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

A riveting historical narrative of the heart-stopping events surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and the first work of history from mega-bestselling author Bill O’Reilly

The anchor of The O’Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America’s Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln’s generous terms for Robert E. Lee’s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln’s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies’ man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country’s most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history’s most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.  (publisher’s summary)

Midnight Rising:  John Brown and the Raid That Started the Civil War by Tony Horwitz

Bestselling author Tony Horwitz tells the electrifying tale of the daring insurrection that put America on the path to bloody war

Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown’s uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict.

Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America’s founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee. After Brown’s capture, his defiant eloquence galvanized the North and appalled the South, which considered Brown a terrorist. The raid also helped elect Abraham Lincoln, who later began to fulfill Brown’s dream with the Emancipation Proclamation, a measure he called “a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale.”

Tony Horwitz’s riveting book travels antebellum America to deliver both a taut historical drama and a telling portrait of a nation divided—a time that still resonates in ours.  (publisher’s summary)

The Battle of the Crater by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

With The Battle of the Crater, New York Times bestselling authors Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen take readers to the center of a nearly forgotten Civil War confrontation, a battle that was filled with controversy and misinterpretation even before the attack began. Drawing on years of research, the authors weave a complex narrative interweaving the high aspirations of African American troops eager to prove themselves in battle and the anxiety of a President who knows the nation cannot bear another major defeat.

June 1864: the Civil War is now into its fourth year of bloody conflict with no end in sight. The armies of the North are stalled in fetid trenches outside of Richmond and Atlanta, and the reelection of Abraham Lincoln to a second term seems doomed to defeat—a defeat that will set off the call for an end to the conflict, dismembering the Union and continuing slavery.

Only one group of volunteers for the Union cause is still eager for battle. Nearly two hundred thousand men of color have swarmed the recruiting stations and are being mobilized into regiments known as the USCTs, the United States Colored Troops. General Ambrose Burnside, a hard luck commander out of favor with his superiors, is one of the few generals eager to bring a division of these new troops into his ranks. He has an ingenious plan to break Fort Pegram, the closest point on the Confederate line, defending Petersburg—the last defense of Richmond—by tunneling forward from the Union position beneath the fort to explode its defenses. Burnside needs the USCTs for one desperate rush that just might bring victory.

The risks are high. Will Burnside be allowed to proceed or will interference from on high doom his plan to failure? The battleground drama unfolds through the eyes of James Reilly—famed artist, correspondent, and friend of Lincoln, who has been employed by the president to be his eyes and ears amongst the men, sending back an honest account of the front. In so doing, he befriends Sergeant Major Garland White of the 28th USCT regiment, an escaped slave and minister preparing his comrades for a frontal assault that will either win the war, or result in their annihilation.

The Battle of the Crater is Gingrich and Forstchen’s most compelling fact-based work yet, presenting little known truths, long forgotten in the files of correspondence, and the actual court of inquiry held after the attack. The novel draws a new and controversial conclusion while providing a sharp, rousing and harshly realistic view of politics and combat during the darkest year of the Civil War. This must-read work rewrites our understanding of one of the great battles of the war, and the all but forgotten role played by one of the largest formations of African American troops in our nation’s history.  (publisher’s summary)

To enter:

*You must be participating in the U.S. Civil War Reading Challenge

*You must have a U.S. mailing address (the publisher is shipping the books)

*You must leave a comment with your e-mail address letting us know which book you’d like to win.  You can enter for all 3 books, but if your name is picked, you will only receive 1 of the titles.  You can rank them in order of preference if you choose.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2011.

**Please note that this giveaway is now closed**

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