It seems Bill O’Reilly has co-authored a book on the Lincoln Assassination. After spending this summer reading James Swanson’s exhaustive (but not exhausting) Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer and other readings related to the exhausting (in the boring sense) movie, The Conspirator, I feel like my Assassination needs are met. These needs were met by some quality sources, too, which O’Reilly’s book seems not to be. Salon.com is giddily listing the experts who’ve taken issue with the factual errors, and the factual errors themselves. I am no O’Reilly fan, and some of the complaints are, frankly, nitpicky, but one in particular stands out as a prime example of inattention to detail:
Steers adds that one entire passage of the book about co-conspirator Mary Surratt is flat-out untrue:
The authors write that she was forced to wear a padded hood when not on trial, and that she was imprisoned in a cell aboard the monitor Montauk, which was “barely habitable.” She suffered from “claustrophobia and disfigurement caused by the hood,” and was “barely tended to by her captors.” “Sick and trapped in this filthy cell, Mary Surratt took on a haunted, bloated appearance.” None of this is true. Mary Surratt was never shackled or hooded at any time. She was never imprisoned aboard the Montauk, but taken to the Carroll Annex of the Old Capitol Prison before being transferred to the women’s section of the Federal Penitentiary at the Washington’s Arsenal.
I won’t be adding this one to my library.