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Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever Hardcover – August 21, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-This skillfully abridged and adapted edition of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln (Holt, 2011) retains the format of the adult title with brief chapters written in a present tense, "you are there" style. It opens in the often-chaotic closing days of the Civil War, capturing the jubilation following Lee's surrender, the events of Lincoln's last days, and Booth's obsessive hatred of Lincoln and his conspiracy to assassinate him. It then describes the shooting and Lincoln's final hours and death, the manhunt for Booth and his allies, Booth's death, and the speedy trial and execution of his coconspirators. An afterword relates the fates of other important figures, and appendixes include a "Lincoln's World" that provides facts about aspects of the Civil War, time lines, and Lincoln-related Washington, DC, locations. Well-captioned illustrations, which include maps and period photos of the major players and significant locations, appear on almost every page and are both informative and interesting. This thrillerlike adaptation captures the excitement of the Union victory in the Civil War and the shock and horror that quickly followed as the country learned of Lincoln's death and sought revenge on his assassins. The popularity of O'Reilly's adult title will drive interest in this version, but it definitely stands alone and will find an audience among general readers and report writers. Chasing Lincoln's Killer (Scholastic, 2009), the YA version of James L. Swanson's adult best-seller, is more narrowly focused on the conspiracy and the massive manhunt for Booth.-Mary Mueller, formerly at Rolla Junior High School, MOα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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These books are written in a way that makes the people and places come alive and don't become bogged down with too much dry data, facts and figures, etc. Of course, Bill O'Reilly doesn't do the actual writing himself since all these Killing books have another author listed in small print. In fact it looks like some of the newer ones have dropped the pretense of O'Reilly being one of the actual authors; although the books are still marketed with his name featured prominently on the cover they no longer say "by Bill O'Reilly" (see the Legends and Lies books). No matter- the two of these history books I have read are interesting and are quick reads. I am now reading a Bruce Catton civil war book now so that I can learn more about the war itself. I see that some of the one star reviews for the O'Reilly books complain about the inaccuracies and fictionalizing. I'm sure that's true- I'm no expert but when I went to look up more online about some of the conspirators in Lincoln's assasination, I noticed that the book had the pictures of Samuel Arnold and Michael O'Laughlen mistakenly labeled with each other's names. If this is one little mistake that I noticed, I'm sure there are others. But the bottom line is that Killing Lincoln is not a bad read and has sparked my interest in further reading about the Civil War.
I recommend this book to all those who would like to be a 'fly on the wall' at some of Lincoln's most intimate moments and feel that they are present among the 'first responders' to history's signature moments. Most of all I would recommend this book to the introspective reader who will enjoy seeing the fabric of human destiny emerge before their mind's eye of cognition.