Authorship not always an indicator of quality—February 15, 2013
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and I believe you shouldn’t judge it by its author either. When it comes to politics, I try not to get too worked up over things, finding people that are extremists are a little off-putting, as a result I was a smidge hesitant to pick up a book written by Bill O’reily because I know he’s a strong personality that I don’t always agree with. However, slowly but surely I’m becoming a history buff and find the lives of former presidents fascinating and was intrigued by his book “Killing Lincoln”, but kept putting it off.
I decided to read “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer” by Seth Graeme Smith for entertainment purposes instead, and was captivated by the historical perspective of the book. While it’s obviously a work of fiction…it also has a lot of truth in it. I was curious at how things lined up with reality, since I didn’t know a lot about Lincoln at that time. There are many books written about our 16th president…but it kept coming back to “Killing Lincoln.” Finally, I gave in and read it.
I’m glad I did, it was a great book! It’s written in a unique way that’s almost a narrative. You learn a lot about the interworking of the last few days of the Civil War with an interesting perspective of John Wilkes Booth. It was a page turner that kept my interest and was also educational…. a unique combination in a non-fiction book. (There has also been a Juvenile adaptation called “Lincoln’s last days” for those young history buffs…or if you don’t have the time for the full version.)
When I finished, I was excited to hear that he was making another book about John F. Kennedy. While waiting, I again found a fiction companion book that I fell in love with: Stephen King’s “11/22/63”. It’s not his normal “scary” book; it’s an exciting story about a man who travels back in time to try and stop the Kennedy assassination. It was laced with historical facts mostly dealing with Lee Harvey Oswald’s life, putting you in the story so it felt like you knew Oswald personally. It was a perfect lead-in to “Killing Kennedy.”
“Killing Kennedy” was just as exciting, though I found a twinge of bias about JFK the democrat vs. Lincoln the Republican. While the facts are stated and to the best of my knowledge not too over-exaggerated, there’s a tone of disapproval that wasn’t there in Lincoln’s book. I still highly recommend it, it’s a gripping book and gives a lot if interesting information about the President, along with the Civil Rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Communism. The end chapters were riveting as you draw toward the big event. My only other concern was I feel he may have taken it a bit too far with the details…that should be left to Stephen King. I mean, it’s interesting to know where he was shot, but I didn’t really need to know about the brains on the back of the car.
With Presidents day just around the corner, all of these books are a fun way to catch up on a little history, and remember our fallen Presidents. Come down to your library and pick one up today!