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Ford's Theatre, citing errors, refuses to carry Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Lincoln'

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(Read caption) Critics charge that errors in "Killing Lincoln" include mentions of the not-yet-built Oval Office and a misstatement of the year the Ford's Theatre burned down.

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If you’re looking for Bill O’Reilly’s book, "Killing Lincoln," in Ford's Theatre, where Lincoln was actually assassinated, you’re not going to find it there.

That’s because the bookstore of the Washington, D.C. theater where the heinous act took place has declined to sell Mr. O’Reilly’s book about the assassination of our 16th president because, some historians say, it’s riddled with inaccuracies.

“Killing Lincoln” contains numerous factual errors and no documentation or footnotes, according to a study conducted by Rae Emerson, the deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site who recommended the book not be sold at Ford’s Theatre.

O’Reilly and his co-author Martin Dugard call “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever,” published by Henry Holt, “an unsanitized and uncompromising … no spin American story.”

According to several historians, they should have added “un-fact checked.”

“If the authors made mistakes in names, places, and events, what else did they get wrong? How can the reader rely on anything that appears in ‘Killing Lincoln’?” asks historian Edward Steers Jr. in a review published in the November issue of “North & South – The Official Magazine of the Civil War Society,” which also points out several of those glaring mistakes.

Among them are several mentions of the Oval Office, including scenes in which Lincoln is placed there. The Oval Office wasn’t built until 1909, during the Taft administration.

The book also claims that Ford's Theatre burned down in 1863. The actual year was 1862. A slew of minor errors include a misidentified theater owner, a mistake in the number of times “Our American Cousin” was performed at the theater before Lincoln saw it that fateful night (seven, not eight, as O’Reilly has it), and an error in the number of acres co-conspirator Dr. Samuel Mudd’s farm comprised (217, not 500, Mr. O’Reilly).


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