Fox News Channel talk show host and political commentator Bill O'Reilly takes a step away from politics and into history with his new book, "Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assasination that Changed America Forever."
In "Killing Lincoln," the first work of history from the New York Times bestselling author, O'Reilly partners with historian Martin Dugard to deliver a true-crime account of the murder that shocked America, and took down an American president.
The authors recount the weeks leading up to and immediately following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, from the final days of the Civil War to the manhunt for John Wilkes Booth, the man who quickly became the country's most wanted fugitive as the prime suspect in Lincoln's death.
Read an excerpt from "Killing Lincoln" below, then check out some other books in the "GMA" library
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 1865 WASHINGTON, D.C. 3:30 P.M.
"Crook," Abraham Lincoln says to his bodyguard, "I believe there are men who want to take my life. And I have no doubt that they will do it."
The two men are walking down Pennsylvania Avenue, on their way back to the War Department for their second meeting of the day. Lincoln wants a short session with Stanton to discuss the fate of a Confederate ringleader who very recently made the mistake of crossing the border from Canada back into the United States. Stanton is in favor of arresting the man, while Lincoln prefers to let him slip away to England on the morning steamer. As soon as Lincoln makes his point, he aims to hurry back to the White House for the carriage ride he promised Mary.
William Crook is fond of the president and deeply unsettled by the comments.
"Why do you think so, Mr. President?"
Crook steps forward as they come upon a group of angry drunks. He puts his body between theirs and Lincoln's, thus clearing the way for the president's safe passage. Crook's actions, while brave, are unnecessary—if the drunks realize that the president of the United States is sharing the same sidewalk, they give no notice.
Lincoln waits until Crook is beside him again, then continues his train of thought. "Other men have been assassinated," Lincoln says.
"I hope you are mistaken, Mr. President."
"I have perfect confidence in those around me. In every one of you men. I know that no one could do it and escape alive," Lincoln says. The two men walk in silence before he finishes his thought: "But if it is to be done, it is impossible to prevent it."
At the War Department, Lincoln once again invites Stanton and telegraph chief Major Thomas Eckert, the man who can break pokers over his arms, to attend Our American Cousin that night. Both men turn him down once again. Lincoln is upset by their rejection, but he doesn't show it outwardly. The only indication comes on the walk back to the White House, when he admits to Crook, "I do not want to go." Lincoln says it like a man facing a death sentence.
Inside the White House, Lincoln is pulled into an unscheduled last- minute meeting that will delay his carriage ride. Lincoln hides his exasperation and dutifully meets with New Hampshire congressman Edward H. Rollins. But as soon as Rollins leaves, yet another petitioner begs a few minutes of Lincoln's time. A weary Lincoln, all too aware that Mary will be most upset if he keeps her waiting much longer, gives former military aide Colonel William Coggeshall the benefit of a few moments.