Of all the places you’d expect to find Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination That Changed America Forever,” Ford’s Theatre, the site of the dreadful act, should rank at the top. But you’d do better to search for the history bestseller on Amazon.com, because you won’t find it at the theater’s museum bookstore.
For a history of the assassination — an “unsanitized and uncompromising . . . no spin American story,” as O’Reilly and coauthor Martin Dugard put it, “Killing Lincoln” suffers from factual errors and a lack of documentation, according to a study conducted by Rae Emerson, the deputy superintendent of Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site, which is a unit of the National Park Service. Emerson’s review recommended that the book not be sold at Ford Theatre’s NPS store.
While the National Park Service does not carry “Killing Lincoln” in the theater’s basement museum bookstore, Ford’s Theatre Society, which operates Ford’s Theatre in partnership with the park service, sells the book in its gift shop located in the ground-floor lobby of the theater. “We decided several weeks ago to carry Bill O’Reilly’s book ‘Killing Lincoln’ in the Ford’s Theatre Society gift shop,” said Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford’s Theatre Society. “While we understand the National Park Service’s concerns about the book, we decided to let our visitors judge the book themselves.”