Daily Archives: March 8, 2011

It doesn’t come out until September

…but you can already pre-order your very own copy of Bill O’ Reilly’s Lincoln assassination book, which will doubtless sell nine hundred bazillion copies.

Despite early indications that this was going to be another harebrained conspiracy account, along the lines of the 1977 book which falsely implicated Stanton in Booth’s plot, I was hoping against hope that O’Reilly and his co-author wouldn’t strike out into the tall grass of pseudohistorical nonsense.

I mean, it’s bad enough when websites and sensationalized documentaries foist that sort of stuff off on the public.  Put it in the mouth of a well-known media personality like O’Reilly, and then picture the madness that would ensue.  For decades, anyone giving a Lincoln lecture or site tour would end up fielding questions about whether members of Lincoln’s administration plotted to have him whacked. History blog comment sections would overflow with the rantings of crackpots, accusing all doubters of perpetuating a 150-year-old cover-up.

It would be one of the biggest boons to spurious history since Glenn Beck started dabbling in Native American studies.  We’d never hear the end of it.  Indeed, we’d be up to our armpits in it.

Now take a look at the promotional copy:

In the spring of 1865, the Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of incredibly bloody battles. President Abraham Lincoln’s generous terms for Robert E. Lee’s surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln’s dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. One man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.

So here we go again.  Gird up thy loins, ye public historians who specialize in Lincoln.  Your job just got a little bit harder.

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