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O'Reilly's Lincoln Book Slammed for Historical Boo-Boos

Ford's Theatre superintendent writes scathing 4-page letter
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2011 5:29 PM CST

(Newser) – Bill O'Reilly's book, Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever, has sold nearly a million copies and currently sits at #2 on the New York Times bestseller list. Only problem is, it's riddled with errors, according to a scathing review from the National Park Service bookstore at Ford’s Theatre, Salon reports. Here are a few alleged historical missteps:

  • Killing Lincoln refers several times to the Oval Office. Little problem: The Oval Office wasn't built until 1909.

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  • O'Reilly writes of Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee: “The two warriors will never meet again.” In fact, they did have a second meeting in 1865 to talk about prisoners of war.
  • According to the book, Ford's Theatre “burned to the ground in 1863.” Sorry Bill, make that 1862.
  • In O'Reilly's words, John Wilkes Booth used "a pen knife to carve a very small peephole" to observe Lincoln in his theater box. But one historical record says the hole was bored so guards could keep an eye on the president.
Even an Amazon reviewer is taking aim at apparent inaccuracies in the book. To read more of the Salon article, click here. (Or read about O'Reilly's theological explanation for the Earth's tides.)

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