Wednesday, November 18, 2015

O'Reilly blasted for Killing Reagan book--and a look back at Killing Lincoln

Reagan statue, Dixon IL
The latest entry in Bill O'Reilly's "Killing" series is "Killing Reagan," which is about the 1981 attempt on Ronald Reagan's life.

Reagan of course was wounded by John Hinckley in '81, but he lived another twenty-three years, finally succumbing to Alzheimer's disease, which was diagnosed in 1994.

And Dugard--and I guess O'Reilly (how much of this book did he really write?)--focus on Reagan's alleged mental decline after the assassination attempt, claiming that the Gipper spent much of his second term watching soap operas.

George Will, whose wife worked in the Reagan White House, has been a particularly harsh critic of the book. He debated O'Reilly on his O'Reilly Factor show earlier this month.Will scolded the authors for not interviewing any of the principals who closely worked with the 40th president.

I reviewed "Killing Lincoln" for Marathon Pundit. I for the most part liked it, but I pointed out some faults, that never should have made it into printed form.

From my 2011 post:
There are a few flaws in this otherwise entertaining and informing book. The authors note that after Lee's surrender, the Virginian and Grant never met again. But the commander of the Unions armies visited Lee the next morning, which Grant recounted in his Memoirs. That's odd, since dialogue between the generals from the Memoirs are included in O'Reilly and Dugard's book. And shortly before his death, Lee visited Grant, who was by then president, in the White House. Also, there was no Oval Office during Lincoln's time--the West Wing wasn't constructed until the early 1900s, Lincoln usually worked in a second floor White House office.
Lincoln at Forest Lawn
The authors cast suspicion on Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, claiming that he may have known about Booth's plot against Lincoln beforehand. That's a stretch, to say the least. Although Stanton and Lincoln's relationship got off to a very bad start when they were working as attorneys on patent case in the 1850s, the Ohioan came to greatly admire the 16th president after his appointment to the cabinet. Besides, what would be Stanton's motive in having Lincoln killed? Or even kidnapped, as was Booth's original plan.
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