Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency (Bill O'Reilly's Killing Series) Hardcover – Print, September 22, 2015
|New from||Used from|
Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Bill O'Reilly's success in broadcasting and publishing is unmatched. The iconic anchor of The O'Reilly Factor led the program to the status of the highest rated cable news broadcast in the nation for sixteen consecutive years. His website BillOReilly.com is followed by millions all over the world.
In addition, he has authored an astonishing 12 number one ranked non-fiction books including the historical "Killing" series. Mr. O'Reilly currently has 17 million books in print.
Bill O'Reilly has been a broadcaster for 42 years. He has been awarded three Emmy's and a number of other journalism accolades. He was a national correspondent for CBS News and ABC News as well as a reporter-anchor for WCBS-TV in New York City among other high profile jobs.
Mr. O'Reilly received two other Emmy nominations for the movies "Killing Kennedy" and "Killing Jesus."
He holds a history degree from Marist College, a masters degree in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University, and another masters degree from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Bill O'Reilly lives on Long Island where he was raised. His philanthropic enterprises have raised tens of millions for people in need and wounded American veterans.
Martin Dugard is the New York Times bestselling author of several books of history. He and his wife live in Southern California with their three sons.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
As difficult as this is to write, I can only say that I was wrong. To my surprise and disappointment, it is perhaps the most factually distorted, negatively skewed, and misleading portrayal I have read on one of our greatest and most influential presidents.
Like the previous books in the series, “Killing Reagan” is succinct and pointed in its assertions, with a rigorous pacing that brings it in at approximately 289 pages. Yet, despite its efficient prose, the book fails in the following areas: 1) Several factual inaccuracies (either by omission of key caveats or the appropriate context); b) “Tabloid-fodder” assertions or rumors ill-sourced or assumed (but not proven) to be true; c) Selection of numerous events designed to reflect negatively on Reagan; d) Unproven negative and arbitrary opinions of Reagan and his capabilities are littered throughout.
For example, I spotted over 30 factual errors, debatable points, or suspiciously sourced “tabloid-like” assertions that immediately undercut the book’s credibility. In addition, there were several anecdotes cited that required caveat or “the full story,” which is something O’Reilly prides himself as always providing but fails to do here. These include:
- Assertion that the Reagan campaign “cheated” by having “stolen” Carter’s briefing notes for their only debate in 1980 (P. 8). The book openly speculates that it was Nancy who stole them, which is unsupported. Also, O’Reilly could have mentioned that it was also revealed that the Carter camp had acquired an insider analysis on RR’s debate preparation from a mole inside of the campaign, pretty much evening things out. Of course, although fairly common in all political campaigns, neither course was ethical but they were also not illegal (in a word, that’s “politics”). Yet, only telling one side is factual inaccuracy by omission, implying that RR somehow “cheated” his way to victory in the debate and perhaps the election.
- Characterizations of numerous sexual escapades, alleged extra-marital affairs in 1952 (which prevented him from being at the birth of his daughter, Patricia Ann; P. 49), and a rumored one in 1968 as Governor (P. 83) – allegations exaggerated or never proven. Yet, the authors write as though they are factual, again negatively depicting RR’s character.
- Repeated assertions of the Reagan’s obsession with Astrology and Nancy’s erratic personality, which were cited in Don Regan’s memoir, “For The Record,” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography” – which are both known for their exaggerated and tabloid-like attacks on particularly Nancy Reagan. “Killing Reagan” provides that RR himself also took Astrology seriously, even though neither Regan, Kelley or any other source has claimed this. Also, due to the fact that both authors had an axe to grind, using either source as credible casts great doubts about the validity of the book’s assertions.
- In several passages, Reagan is described as “not a great intellect”, “passive,” “stubborn,” “disengaged,” “puts little effort into fatherhood,” “has his good days and bad days,” “in permanent decline,” “visibly frail,” “naps frequently,” “delegates much power to Nancy,” “spends hours during the day watching television reruns,” and other swipes that amount to little more than petty slights, or arbitrary and/or parroted opinions. They are also conveyed absent of any positive behavior or characteristics, creating a wholly negative depiction (see P. 83).
- Regarding Iran-Contra, O’Reilly writes: “Although two key members of the conspiracy …North…and…Weinberger, made it clear Reagan knew what was happening, no charges were ever filed against the president” (P. 224). This is not true. While Reagan knew of the sales to Iran (which he admitted), no evidence has ever been found that proves RR knew about the diversion of funds. Also, neither Poindexter, North, or Weinberger ever testified that RR actually knew of this.
- Erroneous and/or incomplete depiction of RR and the Falklands War (PP. 199-211). The authors' message here is that RR opposed the British re-taking of the Falklands and repeatedly tried to convince Thatcher to abandon the effort because Argentina was supporting US operations against Cuban and Nicaraguan Communists in Central America. Yet, the authors fail to mention that Reagan actually did covertly support the British effort by providing USAF resources on nearby Ascension Island (for aerial operations), Sidewinder missiles, logistics materials and other support. Thatcher specifically thanked RR for this in one phone conversation in late June 1982. Yet, the authors’ depiction leaves one with the impression that RR stubbornly opposed Britain and was later beaten down by Thatcher for it (PP. 208-211). It also makes no mention of how RR deftly towed a fine line between both Argentina and Britain, ensuring their future support. Again, a relative positive turned into a negative.
- The authors catalog every gaffe, embarrassing moment, and perceived lapse of Reagan and his presidency without mentioning the many good moments. These would include his comforting words on the Challenger disaster, Reykjavik summit, and seminal speeches from the 40th D-Day anniversary, Notre Dame, British Parliament, SDI, “Evil Empire” speech, and many others. Rather, O’Reilly prefers to provide significant space to Iran-Contra, the potential invocation of the 25th Amendment due to Reagan’s suspected “senility,” and even August 1984’s “we’re doing all we can” tongue-tied incident at the Ranch. They seemed determined to merely hand-wave his successes (P. 224), yet spend nearly the entire book citing anything resembling a failure or foible.
There are other examples but the overarching message is this: “Killing Reagan” is a pointedly negative portrait of a great president and American legend. Their depiction is almost “bi-polar,” simultaneously portraying a dubious, semi-senile blunderer who somehow magically comes to life when pursing the destruction of Communism. O’Reilly’s Reagan is a physically and mentally deteriorating actor and mediocrity whose wife and staff are secretly running the country; whose brilliance is sporadic and ever decreasing due to the onset of Alzheimer’s and/or dementia-like symptoms – something never proven and pointedly denied by RR’s doctors and everyone who worked with him daily while President. Yet, this doesn’t prevent O’Reilly from citing it as credible and/or a fact.
Martin Dugard apparently led the research on this, and sourcing selections provides clues as to why the book is so negative and “tabloid-like.” In other terms, citing severely inaccurate or skewed sources like Kitty Kelly’s “Nancy Reagan…,” James Clarke’s “Defining Danger…,” and Mayer and McManus’ “Landslide: The Unmaking of the President” (among others) automatically calls into question his intentions of getting it right. Based on this, the book inevitably skews negative when their content is adopted and expanded as they are throughout the book.
The radical Reagan-haters of the L3 (i.e., Leftist Liar Lowlifes) continue to lie about RR in a failing attempt to somehow diminish or “delegitimize” his presidency for their own ideological purposes. They “cherry-pick” facets that benefit their arguments without ever proving their claims and/or providing the full story. And, because they cannot factually win the debate on RR’s legacy, they routinely resort to personal slander to marginalize both Reagan and those who would defend him. Dissent is not tolerated in their crusade to re-write history to discredit the success of opposing ideas.
Thus, good scholarship is essential to ensuring that the facts of history are not lost to politically-motivated historical revisionism. Unfortunately, this book adds to the increasingly discredited Reagan-hater attacks. By trying not to “lionize” Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard diminish him and his legacy with continuous negativity and veiled personal attacks throughout.
“Killing Reagan” is the biggest publishing disappointment of the year and should be regarded for what it truly is: the “historical” equivalent of a fast food meal. Despite its initially attractive qualities, it is wholly unsatisfying and even destructive to one’s sense of fulfillment and taste. The title more or less describes what it inadvertently does or tries to do to Reagan and his legacy.