O’Reilly’s Book on Lincoln

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Quite a few people have emailed me begging me to critically review Bill O’Reilly’s new book, Killing Lincoln, about the assassination. They do this not because they have read the book, which is a big, boring bag of nothingness, but because they’ve heard O’Reilly spout the neocon party line about “Father Abraham” on his television show and they smell a rat.

I’ve read the book, and it really is a big bunch of nothing. All it is is a narrative of the events leading up to the assassination. Over 100 books are already in print on the subject, and all O’Reilly and his coauthor do is cut and paste what others have written on the subject, but without including a single footnote! The authors also have the annoying habit of writing things like, “in his mind, he was thinking that . . . ” as though they could know what Lincoln was thinking when he did this or that 150 years ago. This is a standard practice of the “Lincoln scholars,” who also constantly claim to know what was “in his heart” (nothing but love and kindness, of course) in their writings.

There is nothing at all in O’Reilly’s book about Lincoln’s policies and behavior in office. There is nothing about his statist economic policies, his trashing of the Constitution by illegally suspending Habeas Corpus and mass arresting thousands of Northern political dissenters, his intentionally waging war on Southern civilians in violation of all moral and legal codes regarding warfare, his lifelong obsession with deporting all black people, free or slave, from America, etc. In addition, it is apparently so full of historical errors that it has been banned from the bookstore at Ford’s Theater, the famous site of the assassination.

6:29 am on November 13, 2011