O’Reilly, Bill and Martin Dugard. Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever. New York: Holt, 2011.
I have long been fascinated and appalled by the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. I have read many books and articles about it, and this is probably the most readable thanks to its narrative approach. It’s difficult to build suspense with such a familiar subject, but O’Reilly and Dugard manage to do so. The story unfolds slowly, and readers are never allowed to forget what is to come, thanks to dated chapters and frequent references to the number of days or hours Lincoln or others have to live. Several times while reading I wanted to check the source for a quote, but the authors did not include footnotes or even chapter endnotes. These would have been welcome, and their absence is what keeps this title from getting a five-star rating. The listing of sources by chapters at the end of the book is simply not enough to identify which source contained specific details. Nevertheless, readers are likely to find new insight in these pages, gain new admiration for Lincoln, and be left wondering how this nation might be different had he survived.