Honest Abe Meets Bill O’Reilly

Bill O’Reilly’s new book on Abraham Lincoln has been banned at the Ford’s theater gift shop:

Of all the places you’d expect to find Bill O’Reilly’s new history “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever,” Ford’s Theatre — the site of the dreadful act — should rank right at the top. But you’d do better to search for the bestseller on Amazon because it has been banned from the theater’s store.

The crime? O’Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard have displayed a serial disregard for historical fact.

For a purported history of the assassination — an “unsanitized and uncompromising … no spin American story,” as the authors put it, “Killing Lincoln” is sloppy with the facts and slim on documentation, according to a study conducted by Rae Emerson, the deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, which is a unit of the National Park Service.

Other Lincoln experts also have sounded off. In a review published in the November issue of “North & South — The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society,” historian Edward Steers Jr. cites many instances where the book strays from documented history, then asks, “If the authors made mistakes in names, places, and events, what else did they get wrong? How can the reader rely on anything that appears in ‘Killing Lincoln’”?

By taking on Lincoln, O’Reilly and Dugard have set themselves up for avid scrutiny. Few presidents, indeed few subjects, are as voluminously researched and fought over as Lincoln, and have as many amateur and professional specialists eager to display their startling command of minutiae. Steers notes that more than 16,000 books and articles have been written about Lincoln, with more than 125 volumes on the assassination. Oddly, he adds, only eight of the assassination books have been written by professional historians, leaving the field, in his view, to be trampled on by amateurs like Reilly and Dugard.

The rest here.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More