Ridley & Tony Scott to Produce Documentary Based on Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing Lincoln”

Well, look at that: three Lincoln-related posts in a row, though I hope this will be more accurate than Honest Abe hunting vampires and zombies…

This may not be “news”, but it just came to my attention, thanks to an actor I know who is auditioning for the part of Abraham Lincoln in this documentary project for National Geographic slated to air in 2013, and be produced by Ridley and Tony Scott. This special will be based on the best-selling book Killing Lincoln, by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, which examines the events leading up to the president’s assassination and immediately following it. I was actually given this book as a gift last November by one of my students following the conclusion of a middle school-level twelve-week elective course on the Civil War I taught, and although I was very happy to receive such a gift, I just could not bring myself to read anything written by Bill O’Reilly, a personality which I do not care for. However, over time, I eventually skimmed through it, and I must admit, I enjoyed it.

This is a very interesting and exciting narrative; the confines of sticking to facts and using a seemingly endless amount of first-hand accounts did not allow for O’Reilly’s obnoxiousness to come through here. When I finished, I thought it would make a great feature film, but I guess we will have to take a docudrama instead. My only concern, of course, is that the Scott Brothers are producing this, the same duo who lended their name to History’s Gettysburg last year, an Emmy Winner, but also a travesty to history and the Civil War, due to the abundance of errors, and obvious ones at that.

However, I have heard tell that the Scotts did not really have a hand in the actual storyline and just handled the special effects, so if whoever is directing this actually sticks to the book, we really could have something special on our hands. Mike Rowe, from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs is also going to be involved, presumably as the narrator, which guarantees I will watch this, because I am a big fan of his and will stay tuned for anything he is in. We’ll get more information as an air date gets closer, but for now, I wish them well and hope they do it right.

EDIT (6/4/12): It has been brought to my attention that this book is not as accurate as I thought it was. I guess that’s what I get for not actually reading it and just skimming through. I spoke to a film producer with a thorough knowledge of history last night, and he says he is “scared” at how bad this documentary has the potential of being. We will still hope for the best…

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Gettysbuff says:

    Hello Greg,

    It’s funny how you absolutely slammed Gettysburg, but are championing this book because you say it “sticks to the facts”. Where have you been since this book was released? Do you watch the news? Don’t you realize that this book is AWFUL and actually FULL of ERRORS? Do you realize that the Park Service pulled it from the Ford’s Theater bookstore and Gettysburg National Military Park bookstore because of this reason?!!!! I suggest that – when you have the time – you should actually read this book instead of “skimming” through it…and also do your research before giving this piece of garbage any coverage on your wonderful blog. If you’re such a stickler when it comes to facts, then you really owe it to your readers to do this. Sorry. And if you don’t believe me, you know how to find Google. Or just read the book. Although google would save you time 😉 Thanks.

    1. I don’t think I championed the book or the special. I said it was exciting and made that assertion based on skimming it. I am still a bit skeptical as I noted.

      1. Gettysbuff says:

        OK maybe ‘championing’ was a little overboard. Next time i will choose my words more carefully, sorry. But really this book is bad.

      2. I’ll have to do some more research and look more carefully. I just spoke to a historian/filmmaker this afternoon, and he said he’s “scared” at how bad he thinks this is going to be.

      3. Gettysbuff says:

        OK yeah, you should definitely do that. By the way sorry if i sounded like i was attacking you, that wasn’t the case i assure you. You know how much i like you and your blog (i wouldn’t be here if i didn’t!!), even though we just happen to disagree on many things! I just got excited because of how bad this book is, and i didn’t feel like it deserved airtime on here. Ford’s Theater pulled it not long after it was released, and then more recently (as it takes them a while to get new books sometimes), one my friends who is a Park Ranger at Gettysburg informed me that they had removed it from their bookstore too. Says it all really.

      4. No problem, I understood where you were coming from. Just made a little edit update on the post. GC

      5. Gettysbuff says:

        A gentlemen to the end!

      6. Gettysbuff says:


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