(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Political commentator O'Reilly and coauthor Dugard (Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingston) take on the "most spectacular assassination conspiracy in the history of man" in the form of a thriller in this rendition of Lincoln's murder. Ponderous foreshadowing and innuendo produce a tedious read, even as they enable the authors to resurrect a theory that secretary of war Stanton was involved in the conspiracy to kill the president, vice-president, and secretary of state. They concede the contention has been "repudiated and dismissed by the vast majority of trained historians," and yet allude to it frequently. Inaccuracies (e.g., ignoring a 2010 study of King Tut's mummy showing he died of disease, not assassination) and anachronisms (e.g., referring to Grant's "photograph" in newspapers although until the 1880s only engravings were possible) mar the account. Well-documented and equally riveting histories are available for readers interested in Lincoln's assassination; this one shows how spin can be inserted into a supposedly "no spin American story." B&w photos and maps. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
O'Reilly, the popular and controversial cable news commentator, teams here with Dugard (Into Africa: The Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone) to cover Lincoln's assassination in a simple and morally unambiguous style. They offer no new insights into the death of Lincoln, just a sensationalist retelling of a familiar story. In pages filled with conjecture about the mental states of the protagonists, the authors succinctly describe the closing battles of the Civil War, the assassination, and its aftermath. They frequently speculate on conspiracy theories that involved secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton in the assassination plot, but they never make accusations except to say his behavior was "suspicious." It will be interesting to see whether fans of O'Reilly's television show will flock to his first foray into history the way they have to his books on contemporary issues. VERDICT Written from an unapologetically northern perspective, this book is not for academics but may appeal to readers who enjoy fast-paced, conjectural popular history. It includes an appendix reprinting the Harper's Weekly account of the assassination written soon after. [See Prepub Alert, 4/11/11.]-Michael Farrell, Reformed Theological Seminary Lib., Oviedo, FL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.