Killing Reagan

  • by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
  • Narrated by Robert Petkoff, Bill O'Reilly
  • 9 hrs and 10 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling team of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard comes Killing Reagan, an 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.

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Customer Reviews

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Kiliing Reagan

Where does Killing Reagan rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Like others in the O'Reilly, Martin Dugard series, this book is full of research that tells the reader things we didn't know or some of us only suspected. It will take me some time to fully digest and separate the public Ronald Reagan from the historical facts in the book. I'm sure that some people may be put off by some of the material but I found it thought provoking and very timely considering a Presidential election is on the horizon.


What was one of the most memorable moments of Killing Reagan?

The entire book was captivating and had be either shaking my head in disbelief or nodding in confirmation that I got things right when they were happening. I am a Ronald Reagan fan but I now need to revaluate some of the reasons why.


Have you listened to any of Robert Petkoff and Bill O'Reilly ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I have read or listened to all of Bill O' Reilly's books. The research done by Martin Dugard is truly brilliant and give the reader insight that go beyond the sound bites and fluffed up images we form our opinions on. It is no surprise the Bill started off and a teacher and still is; he just has a bigger class room now.


If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Acting The Part


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- Amazon Customer

I Wanted More

I purchased and began listening to this book as a joint reading comprehension exercise with a patient, who selected the book. While it's true I would never have read it if left to my own devices, I did learn some things about Reagan, his life and times that made the experience worthwhile. For example, I'd had no idea of the chaos that reigned within the White House and both Reagan administrations as Reagan (incapable of following complex conversation, much less governing a country independently) sank ever deeper into his obvious dementia after 1981 and Nancy struggled (often to the detriment of seasoned cabinet members and staffers who got in her way) to hide the truth about his decline and keep up appearances. That part was truly fascinating.

But overall the reading experience was a frustrating one because of how thin the author's research was (I wanted to know more about just about every topic he touched on) and how amateurish his writing style was. The reader continually has the impression of a talented junior high school student putting together his first long research project. Word usage is frequently off, and grammar is not this student's strongest subject. Logic is flawed; deductive reasoning is either absent or is incomplete, leading to erroneous conclusions. Statements are made with nothing to back them up, and other statements are made only to be later contradicted. I don't want to bore the reader with numerous examples, so I'll give just one. O'Reilly cites multiple instances of crazyspeak and psychotic thought on the part of John Hinckley, including the detail that Hinckley, on the day he shot Reagan, was considering three OTHER courses of action, one of which was killing himself in front of Jodie Foster. Then, in the very next paragraph, O'Reilly states that observers who reported that Reagan's assailant appeared mentally unbalanced were wrong because "John Hinckley is a cold-blooded killer." Um...not so much. You just proved to me how mentally unbalanced he was!

O'Reilly has a central thesis: Ronald Reagan's precipitous decline into Alzheimer's dementia during his presidency may have been jump-started by the assassination attempt. That's not a bad starting thesis, even if his scientific explanation for it is overly simplistic and a little misleading, medically speaking. But he also misses, or refuses to acknowledge, two enormous ironies inherent in his central thesis, namely that his subject's hardline conservative stance on two key issues, mental health care and gun control, indirectly helped bring about his own downfall.

Conclusion: Not the worst biography out there, but by no means the best. For an A-plus political biography, try Ron Chernow's excellent Alexander Hamilton. You won't be disappointed.
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- Gretchen SLP

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-22-2015
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio