Tag Archives: Bill O’Reilly

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot by Bill O’Reilly

  1. O’Reilly once again does an amazing job detailing the life and context behind the assassination of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald. Camelot refers to how people around the world considered the president and his life – an idyllic place where nothing could go wrong.
Key Takeaways
  1. The similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy are eerie
  2. Kennedy had medical issues throughout his life and twice was read his last rights
  3. Lee Harvey Oswald is a communist and when Kennedy is sworn in he has defected and is in Minsk. He soon realized he wants back to America. He was a sharpshooter in the army
  4. When JFK was 26 his ship, PT 109, in the South Pacific was destroyed by the Japanese. In a leadership role but uncomfortable in this position. He finally takes charge and realizes only he can save his men. This changes his thoughts on leadership forever
  5. Bay of Pigs – April 1961. A covert invasion to try to overthrow the Cuban government. Embarrassing failure and although has backing of American people, makes two powerful enemies – Castro and the CIA director, Alan Dulles who is fired soon after
  6. JFK was very close with Frank Sinatra but after his mob ties were confirmed JFK quickly cut all ties
  7. JFK had many extramarital affairs, Marilyn Monroe being the most renowned. They began flirting right after he won the presidency and it soon turned physical. Jackie knows and is disgusted as she thinks JFK is taking advantage of an emotionally hurt woman. He soon distances himself though to avoid controversy
  8. Oswald returns from Russia in 1961 to Dallas
  9. LBJ gets tasked with traveling the world and loves being most powerful man in any room outside of America
  10. Civil Rights are full blown in this time. The president and his staff keep a close eye on MLK as they like his message about racial equality but are also worried that he is a communist sympathizer
  11. Cuban Missile Crisis – Kennedy finds out in October 1961 that Russia has installed nuclear missiles in Cuba. This is the biggest challenge he has yet to face. He takes a strong stance against them and Oswald takes great offense since he believes that the USSR has the right to protect the communist island from the U.S. This is what Khrushchev believes too and thinks JFK’s use of quarantine vs blockade (act of war) is cowardly. Khrushchev tells his ship to ignore the blockade, believing JFK will back down like he did in the Bay of Pigs. JFK holds firm and Khrushchev relents a little bit. JFK promises not to invade if the missiles are removed and will allow their nuclear missiles in Turkey to remain. After 13 long days, Russia relents and disarms the missiles, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis
  12. Oswald is getting increasingly violent with his wife and starts collecting guns. He is soon fired and on April 10, 1963 he decides he needs to kill someone. He decides to target walker, an ex-military man who is starkly anti-communist. He missed completely but manages to not leave any clues
  13. After much practice and planning, Oswald feels ready to carry his plan through. At 12:30 PM on November 22, 1963 Oswald sets up at the Texas Schoolbook Depository where he worked and shot Kennedy. He let off three rounds, 1 missed completely, 1 went through his neck but would not have been fatal and the last exploded his skull. He manages to escape the building and walks away. About an hour later a cop stops to question him and Oswald kills him too. He then tries to hide in a theater but is caught and taken to jail. Jack Ruby, a man with mafia ties and who owns several strip clubs is extremely upset by the assassination and decides to take action and ends up killing Oswald himself
What I got out of it
  1. I always knew the popularity of JFK and Jackie but had no idea they were the first power couple and were revered everywhere they went. O’Reilly describes JFK’s growth as a leader while President and how his assassination kicked off a series of events that rocked the 60’s and 70’s.

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

  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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