Have you been collecting Bill O’Reilly’s series of historical tomes? He’s hit upon this formula that churns out best-sellers like autumn leaves. The formula is this: “So-and-so got iced. According to Wikipedia, here’s how it went down.”
Then he pays some guy to tart it up like a thriller and cranks open the money spigot. So far we’ve got Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, and now Killing Jesus. Next Christmas he’s going to package them as a boxed set: Killing Time: Everything You Wanted to Know About Some Notable Deaths But Were Too Freaking Lazy to Look Up on the Internet.
Do I sound envious here? Not me. I salute any man who can make a great deal of money restating the obvious. At the very least, O’Reilly deserves credit for getting the basic idea, making a few notes and then paying some other guy to write it. I can picture poor Martin Dugard, his name forever in smaller type, going home to his kids at night and saying, “What are you looking at? It puts food on the table.”
To be honest, I’ve only read the first of the series, Killing Lincoln. I’ll never forget the first line: “The man with six weeks to live is anxious.” First because it’s probably the lamest first line ever written and second because the writing goes downhill from there. Nevertheless, the book went on to top the bestseller lists for week after week — even though every single detail of the Lincoln assassination had already been accounted for in at least 100,000 better books since 1865.
Killing Jesus will probably do even better, because this time Bill and Martin have some inside dope, from none other than a certain member of the Holy Trinity who prefers to remain anonymous. I hope it won’t be too much of a spoiler to say that the Bible gets it wrong in a lot of places, and for the first time since Golgotha the truth can come out.