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Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever    by Bill O'Reilly & Dwight Jon Zimmerman order for
Lincoln's Last Days
by Bill O'Reilly
Order:  USA  Can
Macmillan Audio, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lincoln's Last Days: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever by Bill O'Reilly and Dwight Jon Zimmerman is adapted from Bill O'Reilly's bestselling Killing Lincoln and aimed at young listeners. It provides a detailed timeline of all players involved in the few days preceding the Ford's Theatre assassination, as well as the manhunt that followed it.

I listened to an unabridged audiobook (4 CDs in 4.5 hours) masterfully read by Edward Herrmann (Bill O'Reilly reads the inreoduction himself) and learned a great deal I never knew before. I hadn't realized the extent of the conspiracy and that there were other assassins and targets. I was also unaware (perhaps because I grew up studying European rather than North American history) that the assassination happened so soon after the Civil War ended, in the spring of 1865.

It's a compelling account, making one wonder how easily the outcome might have been been different - for example if Lincoln's bodyguard had taken his job more seriously. The hunt for the killers is gripping, and the ineptness of some of the assassins is almost farcical. But I was disappointed to find I was listening to a recitation of facts with no great insights into events. For example, what really prompted John Wilkes Booth to do the foul deed, and what did he expect afterwards?

But overall, Lincoln's Last Days is well researched, giving not only an intriguing perspective on the pivotal historic event, but also a fascinating peek into what it was like to walk the streets of Washington, D. C. in 1865 America.

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