Written By: Martin Dugard, Bill O’Reilly
Narrated By: Bill O’Reilly, Robert Petkoff
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Date: September 2015
Duration: 9 hours 11 minutes
Killing Reagan: The Violent Assault That Changed a Presidency is a book written by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard about the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981. It is the fifth in the Killing series, following Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton. The book was released on September 22, 2015, and topped The New York Times Best Sellers List.
Killing Reagan Audiobook Summary
From the bestselling team of Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard comes Killing Reagan, a page-turning epic account of the career of President Ronald Reagan that tells the vivid story of his rise to power — and the forces of evil that conspired to bring him down.
Just two months into his presidency, Ronald Reagan lay near death after a gunman’s bullet came within inches of his heart. His recovery was nothing short of remarkable — or so it seemed. But Reagan was grievously injured, forcing him to encounter a challenge that few men ever face. Could he silently overcome his traumatic experience while at the same time carrying out the duties of the most powerful man in the world?
Told in the same riveting fashion as Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus, and Killing Patton, Killing Reagan reaches back to the golden days of Hollywood, where Reagan found both fame and heartbreak, up through the years in the California governor’s mansion, and finally to the White House, where he presided over boom years and the fall of the Iron Curtain. But it was John Hinckley Jr.’s attack on him that precipitated President Reagan’s most heroic actions. In Killing Reagan, O’Reilly and Dugard take readers behind the scenes, creating an unforgettable portrait of a great man operating in violent times.
In 1981, after delivering a speech at the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, President Reagan is shot by John Hinckley, Jr.. Near death, Reagan’s life is in the balance in the hands of doctors at George Washington University Hospital. At the White House however, there is chaos as Reagan’s cabinet is led by Secretary of State Alexander Haig.
Killing Reagan Audiobook Reviews
Well, I’m dubious about disagreeing with so many O’Reilly fans but this book is flawed. I’m glad someone finally revealed the old guy’s secret peccadillos but the authors took it too far. It’s Ronald Reagan from the dark side, his shadow self. If a man’s biography amounts to the accumulation of his peculiarities and weaknesses, and also those his wife’s, then this is acceptable biography. I once heard O’Reilly comment, “Reagan was not a phony.” You’d never infer that from this book. I’m not a gushing fan of Reagan by any means, as are some, and I like Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. Their book Killing Lincoln was an excellent read. And I’m old enough to recall Reagan’s sending Marines to Lebanon to stand guard without guns or ammunition . . . until one day BOOM went the bomb. A baby would have known better. I still recall his administration calling ketchup a vegetable in school lunch programs, and other such silly stuff. Ronald Reagan could bumble around, no doubt—I remember it. Famous persons ought to be biographized as if sitting in their underwear, we all agree, but this is a life of Ron and Nancy written as a chain of egoistic, self-serving calculations, one following another. Dwelling excessively on negatives warps perspective as much as uncritical reverence. Sorry, all you “killing” book fans—this book is two-dimensional history. The softer side of the president, his hugging relatives of the space shuttle disaster with sincere warmth, his change of mind about AIDs sufferers and admitting he was wrong in a public service announcement, his resisting his daughter’s heart-to-heart talk about the arms race, his diary entries in which he struggles to forgive John Hinckley, and earlier—his going to bat for unfairly-treated Hollywood actors, are all left out. I once read that Reagan nearly punched Lee Marvin when Marvin demanded an actress be fired from the set. Ronald Reagan had positive dimensions, too. Furthermore, the book is not exclusively about “killing Reagan,” although there are chapters on the assassination attempt. It’s a selective biography of Reagan from his arrival in Los Angeles through to his death. It is a book of chosen scenes, threaded together by a narrative which moves along briskly, no doubt well-researched, nearly all of which are hyper-critical of their subject. That’s it in the nutshell. Perhaps the authors wanted to avoid even a whisper of political bias? That is my guess for an explanation. If so, they succeeded in spades.
This is a worthwhile book even if an imperfect one. I say, read it with its flaws in mind. Stop already with the indiscriminate acceptance of O’Reilly’s and Dugard’s work. Those “killing” books have become for some like ringing bells were to Pavlov’s dogs. These are good books but not the last word on their subjects. Break the conditioning by stepping back and thinking critically.
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On September 26, 2015, about a week after the book’s release, National Geographic announced that a television film adaptation is in the works. In May 2016, it was announced that Tim Matheson and Cynthia Nixon would play Ronald and Nancy Reagan respectively in the upcoming television film. Filming began in late May. It premiered Sunday, October 16 at 8 PM.
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