Sunday, January 6, 2013

Killing Lincoln

Well, I'm off to an auspicious start.  Two of my posts have "Killing" somebody in the title...
After reading Killing Kennedy recently, I downloaded the recent bestseller by the writing team of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard, Killing Lincoln.  It is a wonderful read.

Unlike the Kennedy assassination, the killing of President Abraham Lincoln was the result of  historically documented conspiracy.  Makes you wonder what they would have publicized had he been murdered in the days of need-to-know basis or national security...oh well, that's another discussion, so I won't go there this time.

This book, like their latter one on Kennedy, reads like a good novel.  Nobody needs to worry that it reads like a history textbook.  The characters are vividly alive.  There is a good bit of battle information leading to the surrender of Robert E. Lee to U.S. Grant.  The background is necessary to illustrate the bitterness of some Confederates at their defeat.  Also, it helps the reader understand why some of those who supported the Union were so intent on punishing the rebels.

As Mr. O'Reilly wrote, when Confederate agent John Wilkes Booth pulled the trigger in Ford's Theater, he made the reconstruction more brutal on the South than it would have been.  Lincoln wanted to end all the rancor and bring the former Confederacy back into the Union.  The post-war economy needed the South's farms and plantations to produce in order to pay off the huge wartime debt.

Andrew Johnson, Lincoln's vice-president and successor, believed the Confederate states should be punished for rebelling against the Union in the first place.  When he assumed the presidency, Johnson got his wish.  The South took many years to rebound from the costly war.

One of the best things about Killing Lincoln is the additional information the authors included about the main characters and their lives after the assassination.  I don't know about anybody else, but I appreciate learning what happened to everyone for the rest of their lives. 

Mr. O'Reilly wrote of his fascination about the similarities and parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.  He is correct.  I knew some of the things he cited, but much of it was new to me.

Bravo Mr. O'Reilly and Mr. Dugard, this is a well-written book, worthy to be read.

The National Geographic Channel purchased the film rights to Killing Lincoln.  They have produced a film which will air on their channel beginning next month.  They announced recently that they have also purchased the film rights to Killing Kennedy.

I look forward to seeing the films.

Until next time, read, listen to music, go see a movie, or watch a good series...creativity on a grand scale separates we humans from the rest of the beings who inhabit our world.

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