Killing Kennedy: JFK assassination gets the Bill O'Reilly treatment

10:38 AM, Oct 2, 2012   |    comments
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NEW YORK (USA TODAY) - Bill O'Reilly describes himself as a journalistic "watchdog" and a "champion bloviator."

He's not a historian - "not really. That's not my discipline," he says in his corner office at Fox News, home of The O'Reilly Factor, the top-rated show on cable news.

But few history books can approach the popularity of O'Reilly's Killing Lincoln, which has sold more than 2 million copies since it was released a year ago. His new book, Killing Kennedy (Henry Holt), about the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, could be as popular. It goes on sale Tuesday.

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Both books were co-written by Martin Dugard, who did most of the research, leaving the writing to O'Reilly, whose approach is to write "history that's fun to read" in a "populist way. No pinheaded stuff, just roar it through!"

It's history as fast-paced thriller, with dramatic foreshadowing in a you-are-there present tense. And, O'Reilly says, "it's all true!"

A few historians questioned details and a lack of documentation in Killing Lincoln. O'Reilly, a former high school history teacher, says any errors, corrected in later editions, are "picayune." The criticism, he says, is just jealousy.

"These guys toil in obscurity their whole lives, and a punk like me comes along and sells 2 million copies. They're not happy."

O'Reilly, 63, is to traditional history what best-selling novelist James Patterson is to literature. Neither gets much respect from academic types. Both say they don't care - all the way to bank.

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