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Killing Lincoln' Chapters Summary

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Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, is a nonfiction historical narrative and recount of Abraham Lincoln's murder in 1865. This book was written and published by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. It has a total of 336 pages. The author describes the events leading up to Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and the hunt and capture of John Wilkes Booth, including his partners in crime. The purpose of this book is to give the person reading, insight, and information about Lincoln's death. Killing Lincoln, I think can be comprehended by anyone as young as a middle schooler, but I think it would be the most suitable for high school students. This book would be considered “new” because it is still relevant, and was written this decade. As an enthusiast of Lincoln, O'Reilly holds in politics and religion common conservative views. Born and raised in New York, O'Reilly got a master's degree in radio journalism from Boston University and received a Bachelor of Arts in History from Marist College. The book is also written by the best-selling author Martin Dugard, whose book Into Africa: Stanley and Livingstone's Epic Adventures has been adapted into a special History Channel. Killing Lincoln is a continuous series of the pair, including Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus. These two authors have an extended knowledge and background on the history and know what they were doing in writing this book, but the only sources I saw were at the front of the book, and it named where they got the pictures from, not the information. This book is divided into four sections. The many themes that are included in this book are Patriotism, allegiance, envy, crime, and punishment. It is divided into four parts.

The first section of the book deals with the Civil War and the bloody truth of warfare. It addresses the fight to obtain the upper hand in the four-year-long Civil War between general Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate general Robert E. Lee. The Union forces are far higher up in numbers and morale, and Lincoln wanted the war to be done with so he could begin the difficult task of uniting everyone. He faces a discouraged country, including a North that doubts the reason for the war and a South that hates him for violating their liberty. Lincoln wants nothing more than to renew patriotism by winning the war and then make the nation better by reunification. On the other hand, Lee has been outsmarting Grant with his band of soldiers. The South’s forces are deprived of food, and constantly on the run, but believed in their causes of states’ rights and pro-slavery. They won’t take surrendering to the North. The first part of the narrative focuses on the strategic decisions made by each person and puts key battles altogether, including the horrible things that happened in warfare that led up to Lee’s succumbing at Appomattox Court House.

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The second part of the book called, “The Ides of Death” talks about the early actions against Lincoln and how that changed into John Wilkes Booth’s plot to kill him instead of kidnapping him. A Confederate sympathizer and foreign agent for the South, Booth was getting paid to engage in acts of espionage, but he isn’t allowed to join in what is known as black flag warfare or murder someone. After the South’s loss to Lincoln, Booth knows that has no one to show or tell him the rights and wrongs of the rules of war. He thinks that killing is immoral but not during battle. He then decides and thinks of ways to kill Lincoln to preserve the old ways of the South, adding his own rules to it. Booth recruits co-conspirators Lewis Powell, George Atzerodt, and David Herold to help with the murder.

The third section of the book called, “The Long Good Friday” focuses on Lincoln’s murder and how it happened. It talks about Lincoln’s murder at Ford’s Theatre, and Booth’s flight into the Maryland Countryside, while the final part of the lengthy book talks about, “The Chase.” This is Booth and Herold’s effort to run to Kentucky and then run to Mexico while being chased by authorities. The outcome also talks about the fate of everyone who plotted against Lincoln. Punishments are harsh and include execution by hanging and imprisonment for others. What history is left with is a lot of conspiracy theories enclosing the actions leading up to Lincoln’s murder, some say that the author's advances will not be unraveled. Although Lincoln’s murders are eventually taken to justice, the narration makes it easy to understand that Lincoln’s murder forever changed the United States, and sent it in a different direction than the one intended with tolerance and union that Lincoln wanted while alive.

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Killing Lincoln’ Chapters Summary. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 6, 2023, from
“Killing Lincoln’ Chapters Summary.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
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Killing Lincoln’ Chapters Summary [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2023 Dec 6]. Available from:
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