“From a historical point of view, the read is interesting in the details and its literary prose will please many so, if you are a guy, go get the book, you’ll probably enjoy it. However, if you are a woman, I warn you it may leave you with a bitter taste, and here is why: O’Reilly &/or Dugard go out of their way to elevate Lincoln and Grant to heights of divinity. They can do no wrong; their thoughts all pure. In fact, all men are treated with utmost respect: Lee is a General pained by the efforts and hardships of his men and surrenders with elegance and grace. Even Booth, the assassin, is described, repeatedly, as a talented actor and handsome man who must have also been the most brilliant villain in history for carrying out “...the most spectacular assassination conspiracy in the history of man.” Again, all this would be fine if only women were painted under the same exalted light, but they are not. Only four woman are briefly mentioned; the wives of Lincoln and Grant, Booth’s girlfriend, and, Surratt, one of Booth’s collaborators. The first three, particularly the wives, are no more than spoilt brats, while Surratt doesn’t really do much and is anointed with no particular charms, other than being attractive, despite being the only woman hung by the US government. So, according to these two co-authors, as the country ends a devastating and cruel war, and while everything is still in shambles and upheaval, the two great men that sent men to die and stood strong in their convictions to win, etc...somehow couldn’t say no to their wives when it came to going or not to the theatre. Who cares that the country is in dire need of immediate attention and people have suffered greatly, these too women are so extremely selfish and self-centered that the President of the United States and the General that won the Civil War, not only can’t reason with them, but fear them at a time when women had no rights, let alone were entitled to an opinion. And no, it is not me who makes the big deal out of it; the authors do when they chose to dedicate several chapters to these men’s strife in the matter.
The sharp contrast in the treatment of male and female characters, bordering absurdity, was very annoying to me, and though I did finish the book, it left me with a bitter taste.