Bill O'Reilly Takes on History for Kids
These days Bill O'Reilly is a widely known T.V. personality and author but what many may forget is that he was a high school history teacher before he became a household name. Adapted from Killing Lincoln, his bestselling book for adults, O'Reilly brings the end of the Civil War and the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln to life for young readers in a new book, Lincoln's Last Days.
This action-packed history has fascinating vintage photographs on every spread and is a great way to introduce the excitement of reading non-fiction to young readers. In the exclusive Q&A below O'Reilly shares his favorite photo from the book and you can see a couple other images both after the Q&A and in the video of O'Reilly reading from the book.
Q: What aspects of this story did you discover for the first time when you dug into the research?
O'Reilly: The research for Killing Lincoln turned up some amazing things about the assassin John Wilkes Booth. His fiancée was secretly dating the president's son Robert Todd Lincoln, and this might have caused Booth to fixate on the president even more. Also, Booth almost got away after the murder and the manhunt for him is a real action drama.
Q: What was your favorite part of American history to teach?
O'Reilly: When I taught high school history to seniors and juniors, I would emphasize the greatness of men like Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Lincoln. I would tell personal stories about those great men to make them seem as real people to the students, instead of just myths. That's why I wrote Lincoln's Last Days—so that young Americans could learn about the Civil War and President Lincoln in an exciting way.
Q: There are so many photos in Lincoln’s Last Days – do you have a favorite?
O'Reilly: The profile photo of Abraham Lincoln on page 59 is my all-time favorite of him.Q: What was your favorite book as a child?
O'Reilly: As a kid in fourth grade, I read all the Hardy Boy books in school. But I wasn't supposed to. I hide them behind the pages of a huge geography book. So while I was supposed to be reading about Turkey, I was actually reading about Frank and Joe Hardy solving mysteries.
Q: What’s your most prized possession?
O'Reilly: My most prized material possession is a photograph signed by Abraham Lincoln. The image of him was taken by Matthew Brady, and the president signed it at the bottom. A superb piece of history.
Bill O'Reilly Reading from Lincoln's Last Days: