Killing Kennedy by Bill O’Reilly & Martin Dugard
Unabridged, 8 hr. 25 min.
Bill O’Reilly (Narrator)
October 2, 2012
Genre: History, Non-Fiction, President
Source: Received audiobook from publisher as part of Audiobook Jukebox Solid Gold Reviewers Program
“More than a million readers have thrilled to Bill O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, the page-turning work of nonfiction about the shocking assassination that changed the course of American history. Now the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts in gripping detail the brutal murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy—and how a sequence of gunshots on a Dallas afternoon not only killed a beloved president but also sent the nation into the cataclysmic division of the Vietnam War and its culture-changing aftermath.
The events leading up to the most notorious crime of the twentieth century are almost as shocking as the assassination itself. Killing Kennedy chronicles both the heroism and deceit of Camelot, bringing history to life in ways that will profoundly move the reader. This may well be the most talked about book of the year.”
As soon as I heard the O’Reilly & Dugard were going to be releasing another non-fiction work about another famously assassinated president (which I am now 3 for 4 in reading about) I was super excited to read it. I enjoyed Killing Lincoln tremendously and had high hopes for the treatment about Kennedy – especially since it is a relatively recent event that I did not know all that much about. I may have set my expectations too high coming in because the book let me down a little bit.
One of the things that I appreciated was that right from the start of the book, sort of an author’s note, O’Reilly set out to respond to some of the criticisms about Killing Lincoln and how he made sure to address those concerns in Killing Kennedy. In another connection to his earlier work, parallels are frequently drawn between Kennedy and Lincoln – some of which I was surprised by and were quite eerie.
The bulk of the book features the early life and presidency of John F. Kennedy – sort of getting the reader up to speed leading up to the assassination. These vignettes were interesting and inspiring – especially reading about PT-109, which I knew about but did not know Kennedy was involved in. These sections really helped to build my appreciation of Kennedy and contributed to my emotional reaction to the assassination (which I was not alive to live through, so I’m sure my reaction was somewhat different from that of one who lived through it). At the same time, we get parallels (especially during the Kennedy administration years) of what Lee Harvey Oswald was doing. This was a strength that O’Reilly built on from the previous book which was also one of my favorite elements.
The portion of the book featuring the actual immediate lead up, assassination, and fallout made up only about one-third of the book – which was a little disappointing since the book is titled Killing Kennedy – I expected more of the book to represent this segment. For someone who really does not know too much about this period of history there were some new things that I learned and it was a great introduction to the period (however I am unable to account for its accuracy) – however I feel that for someone experienced with the time period it was likely common knowledge that was presented here – despite the claim of new revelations. I’m not going to get into conspiracy theories or which view the authors took or whether they are right or not (we just don’t know until probably 50 years from now when some records are unsealed – pretty much all Kennedy books promote one theory or another). One other little thing that bugged me was that there are dates presented at the beginning of each chapter – which suggest to the reader that the events being described happen on that day or that we will go forward from that date – but I found them to be distracting. We often would get a little something that happened on that date and then jump around in time. I think it would have been more effective to provide a date range for the chapters.
Overall this was still the compelling reading that moves you right along and keeps you interested, however I wanted more.
My sentiments were very similar to those of Killing Lincoln: The book is narrated by the author, Bill O’Reilly, who I thought was an excellent choice for narrator. His tone of voice lent to the feel of the thriller as well as to a news commentary of the days. It sort of felt like you were hearing an account of what happened. He had great pacing and enunciation which really contributed to the overall feel.
Author Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard also have written Killing Lincoln and have a new book in the works – topic yet to be disclosed. You can visit O’Reilly’s website for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book or this audio sample?
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