Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln

Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly

Summary
  1. O’Reilly details the end of the Civil WarLincoln’s dream of a nation once again unified and his untimely end at the hands of John Wilkes Booth. Booth is an extremely charismatic actor and very racist and can’t stand the fact that Lincoln and the North have come out on top. This book is engaging and exciting and brings to life one of the murders that changed America forever.
Key Takeaways
  1. John Wilkes Booth was a charming and successful actor but is a blatant racist, confederate sympathizer and hates Lincoln and everything that he stands for. He has compiled a group to organize the killing of Lincoln. At the presidential inauguration he lunged at Lincoln but is stopped quickly
  2. From the beginning Lincoln decides to take a lenient position when dealing with southerners. Wants to unify states and punishing severely would only hurt the cause. This angered many northerners who had revenge on their minds. Lincoln is the most despised president ever and receives daily death threats but does not take too much precaution, preferring to live his life on his own terms
  3. Booth rehearses for the kidnapping of Lincoln but it falls through. He then takes matters into his own hands. No president has been assassinated up to this point and Booth loves this idea of going into history
  4. For all the calm Lincoln portrayed to the public, he was extremely anxious and slept terribly – often having nightmares. At 56 he was exhausted and 35 pounds underweight
  5. Mary Todd Lincoln had an emotional disorder and was prone to severe mood swings. Lincoln totes on her but knows she is just one tragedy away from losing her mind
  6. When the plan shifts from kidnapping to murder, Booth blackmails the other conspirators
  7. Booth plans everything down to the last detail and has his conspirators kill Secretary Steward and VP Andrew Johnson.
  8. Lincoln is killed on April 14, 1865 on the idea of March. After Booth shoots him, he means to jump out of the state box onto the stage but trips and breaks his leg but still manages to escape the theater
  9. Lincoln does not die immediately and is taken to a home nearby but there is nothing they can do. Lincoln dies the next morning at 7:21 AM and Vice President Andrew Johnson is sworn in as the 17th president.
  10. Lincoln’s body is loaded on a train for Illinois and along the way 30M people pay their respects
  11. The other conspirators are caught and either hanged or sent to prison for life. Mary Surratt is the first and only woman hanged by the U.S. Government
  12. Mary never recovered and her mental disposition spiraled downward until she died at the age of 63. Robert Lincoln became a successful lawyer and Tadd Lincoln died at 18 of a rare heart condition
What I got out of it
  1. Amazing detail around the lives of Lincoln, Booth and Booth’s co-conspirators. Understanding the background story of these people really makes it come to life and brings you back to a different time. If you’re interested in American history or biographies, this is a great read.

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