Book Review: Killing Lincoln

I’m not a Bill O’Reilly fan.  In fact, if I had paid attention and realized that this was written by him, it might have influenced my decision to read the book.  Instead, I saw the book on a ‘best of 2013’ list and thought it was intriguing (plus I’m on a biography kick right now) so I added it to my library list. And I’m glad I wasn’t biased by the author’s name over the title.

To be fair, I don’t know how much was O’Reilly written and how much was the coauthor Dugard.  But from the first chapters of the book, written during the time when my native city of Richmond was being overtaken by Grant, forcing Lee on his way west toward Appomattox, I was intrigued at the way the story unfolded.  Lincoln’s involvement in the last days of the war, what Booth Continue reading

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On the Sidelines of History

Three days ago, on Thursday, a violent storm through my town knocked loose a branch from a tree in my back yard.  This limb fell on a wire that leads to my house, pulling it loose from the house.  The strain of that wire hanging in the air snapped one of the wires in the bundle.  That wire was my cable source.

I was gone all day Friday with my mother for her surgical procedure then babysitting my ‘nephews’ while their mother was at her schools’ graduations.  Saturday was my Father’s Day celebration out of town, so today, Sunday, is really the first chance I’ve been at home with nothing on TV to watch for the afternoon.

I realize this should be a blessing, and an opportunity to clean my house.  But after the week that I have had (working 40 hours in three days, volunteering for a golf tournament, and then the aforementioned Friday and Saturday activities), about all I was able to manage after church and a few hours at the playground with the same nephews was to veg out on the couch.  So I’m going through old items on the Tivo.

There are movies that I had recorded, some almost two years ago, and am now able to watch because the ‘new’ stuff is not recording.  One of the shows that I have been meaning to watch and never had the time was The Freedom Riders: An American Experience.

I was a triple major in college.  One of my majors was American History.  I even focused on the history of the South.  I was aware of Jim Crow laws.  I remember my elder family members speaking of them, though not often.  I remember my mother talking about desegregation of her schools, and how that was a huge upheaval here in Virginia.  I had heard of the Freedom Riders.

It’s oh so humbling to say, but here is the basic truth: I am ashamed.  I am ashamed that I would answer, when asked, that yes I knew about the Freedom Riders.  I knew that blacks and whites rode the bus together.

I am ashamed because I knew nothing. Continue reading