2.392 di 2.932 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
Anthony B. Ford
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida
As someone who has studied Lincoln and books on the assassination since I was about 8 (that would be, sigh, about 50 years), I figured I'd give O'Reilly's book a try, assuming that since he had written it so shortly after some great Lincoln books (Abraham Lincoln: A Life, by Michael Burlingame; Blood on the Moon by Edward Steers) that there must be something unique about it. Unfortunately, I came away not really seeing what the new approach was. While it is supposedly written like a thriller, I find it to be prone to abbreviation and errors as noted by one of the one-star reviewers here (i.e. talking about the Oval Office, which was not built when Lincoln was president, but in 1909 when Taft was president, and a gross misrepresentation of how Mary Surratt was treated -- she NEVER wore a hood while imprisoned, and she was NEVER on the "Montauk", etc.). Throwing in a long-discredited conspiracy theory supposedly linking Secretary of War Edwin Stanton into the mix was completely unnecessary, unless the idea was to give readers already convinced that JFK was assassinated by space aliens something new to obsess over. A list of errors written by the Assistant Superintendent of the Ford's Theatre Historical Site, by no means complete, but enough for the NPS Eastern National bookstore at Ford's Theatre to avoid selling this book, may easily be found on the internet (I will be glad to give you the link if you can't find it). The Theatre gift shop IS selling it, but not the National Park Service store, due to inaccuracies. You will see many reviews here (five-star ones) stating that "this book was not written for historians." Does that mean that lousy research is just fine for the unwashed masses? Wouldn't the casual reader be served much better by reading information, whether or not it's entertaining -- and yes, it's an entertaining and easy read -- that had been verified by research? I just cannot understand the mindset of "it wasn't written for historians, so errors are just fine, as long as it gets people to read about history." Baloney.
What O'Reilly has going for him is a built-in audience who went out in droves to buy this book because he talked about it every day on The O'Reilly Factor. I watch him casually, and I figured, "Why not? One more book to add to my Lincoln collection (which is fairly large after fifty years)." As you should be able to see, my purchase of this book is verified at Amazon, and, in fact, I preordered it because the mention on the O'Reilly Factor got my interest. Unfortunately, it won't be up in the top tier of my Lincoln assassination material. It's OK for the casual reader who wants to learn something about the Lincoln assassination. It's too hurried and flies through things that need to be dealt with in a less perfunctory manner, I think. As O'Reilly notes in his show that Abraham Lincoln was the "gold standard" for the Presidency, I will say here that, for the "gold standard" of books written on the Lincoln assassination, no better work can be found than the book "Blood on the Moon," by Edward Steers -- you can see it here at Amazon at Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln). If you only have one book on this subject, the Steers book is the book to have. If you just want to be up on the latest O'Reilly books, then get this one. It's not horrible, but it tells the reader nothing new, and oftentimes it tells the reader much LESS than he/she needs to know, and, as noted, sometimes incorrectly.
So, in summary, it was just OK, which is why I gave it an average rating. A few minor errors wouldn't have dropped it below four stars, but for a Lincoln researcher it would be considered a young person's primer. For someone seriously interested in the subject, get the Steers book and pass this one by. Just because O'Reilly has a multi-million person audience to whom he can hawk his wares, it doesn't mean it's great work. I hope people are not writing off an honest review because they think I'm picking on O'Reilly. The only POSSIBLE reason that this book took off so fast on the bestseller lists is because it was publicized on the O'Reilly Factor, not because it was so much better than any of the other books written about the Lincoln assassination. There has been much back-and-forth about this for some time. Dishonest people who didn't read the book but hate O'Reilly gave it one-star reviews without ever opening it. O'Reilly fans have an attack of the vapors at anything less than a five-star review. The purpose of this review was to inform, not to express ideology. I stand by this review. If you don't like it, that's fine, but don't attack me simply because you're sticking up for Bill O'Reilly (a futile wish, apparently). Again -- I watch The O'Reilly Factor. I am also a Lincoln scholar. Take this review at face value.
8 di 8 persone hanno trovato utile la seguente recensione
John P. Jones III
- Pubblicato su Amazon.com
Formato: Copertina rigida
First of all, I'll admit it. I did read the entire book, cover to cover. I'll also admit, and better than that, confirm that I not a big fan of "The O'Reilly" factor, where this book was apparently hyped. Still... based on some recommendations, I decided to give it a try, either to confirm my opinions of the man, or, better yet, possibly revise them. There could have been a facet I was completely missing. Alas, it was a confirmation: the book was written, apparently by Martin Dugard, to be a "good story," and, "a thriller," so it is. Overall, the facts are correct: Booth did kill Lincoln in Ford Theater, and Lee did surrender to Grant. But in terms of history, there was much amiss, and since I am not a civil war "scholar" or "buff", I didn't realize how much, until I read some of the more than 1000 1-star reviews. I did pick up on one glaring error: how could 30 million people have lined the railroad tracks to watch Lincoln's funeral train pass, when the entire population of the entire United States, north, south, west, slaves and kids, was 31 million in 1860? In terms of some of the good reviews out there, that detail many of the other factual errors, like there was no "Oval Office" in the White House until the 20th Century, I'd recommend the one written by Anthony Ford and another by, yes, "A. Lincoln."
The book starts six weeks before Lincoln is assassinated, with Federal troops before Petersburg, which has been under siege for the better part of a year, and Lincoln is nearby hoping to see it finally taken. The Confederate troops are ill-supplied, as they have been for a long time, and are on the point of starvation. Petersburg does fall, as does the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond, shortly thereafter. I was surprised by the account of Lincoln actually going to Jeff Davis's office there, but I have not seen that disputed on a factual basis. Lee continues to maneuver the remnants of his Army, hoping to score some food, and make it to the Carolinas to regroup. Grant does have other plans, and pursues him to the end, at Appomattox Court House, after the savage battle at Sayler Creek. Dugard alternates chapters detailing the military collapse of the Confederacy with Booth's plans, along with a ragtag group of co-conspirators, to kill Lincoln. As in other thrillers, the author throws in dollops of... and one can almost hear the suspense music in the background, of premonitions of death. There is the "added spice" of a possible co-conspirator being Lincoln's own Secretary of War, Stanton. And in docudrama style, for example on p. 95, Dugard provides quotes around what Booth thinks to himself in a bar: "Outraged, he steps into a tavern and knocks back a drink. John Wilkes Booth thinks hard about what comes next. `Our cause being almost lost, something decisive and great must be done,' he tells himself."
It has been a long time since I've read Bruce Catton's Terrible Swift Sword: The Centennial History of the Civil War, Volume Two or Shelby Foote's Shiloh: A Novel. This is an essential part of American history that I should read a better account of, and thanks to other reviewers, it seems to be available: Edward Steers (Blood on the Moon). Sadly, I've fallen for some other fanciful recreations of American history, for example, Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West. Dugard's deficiencies are all the greater than Ambrose's. History might be written by the victors, as the old saw has it, but it should not be delegated to those who simply... with the emphasis on that word, want to tell a good, fast-paced story, of good and evil, shorn of complexities. 2-stars for this effort.