Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wild Bill O'Reilly's Legends and Lies

Bill O'Reilly is a busy man these days.  He has broken away from his serial murder genre to give us a look into the Real West.  It is a companion volume to a television series, which offers us such "eye-opening looks" into the real life of Black Bart and what really happened to Butch and Sundance down Argentina way.  The title, if not the content as well, appears to come from Dale Walker's 1997 book.  Bill just seems to have put his name in front of it.

This was probably not a smart decision, especially in the wake of the stories he fabricated about himself in Argentina at the time of the Falkland Islands War, and the more recent allegations of domestic violence.  It opens him to quite a bit of ridicule and scorn.  Of course, few expect Papa Bear to be a hard-hitting journalist, much less a hard-hitting historian.  Bill prefers the soft balls of political punditry, where he can bend events to suit his arguments, and if necessary inflate his involvement in them to give himself a greater air of importance in the minds of his viewing audience.

Typically, O'Reilly has a partner in crime, or shall we say history.  One more familiar with the subject, and does the bulk of the research.   It seems Dale Walker had done the leg work in the previous book.  Bill needed someone to give it a new spin, so he employed David Fisher, who makes his money helping others write their books, ranging from Dr. Sanjiv Chopra to Warren Sapp.  Mr. Fisher doesn't seem to have a  single title of his own.  He appears to be a MacMillan staff writer.  Who knows he might have helped out Dale Walker on the earlier title, since the books are both from the same publisher.

It's reached the point where Baba O'Reilly can occupy an entire corner of a bookstore with all his titles.  It seems folks didn't like the Killing aspect of his current historical fiction series, especially when it came to Jesus, and these books are now being titled "Last Days."  Good for him, as it looks like he has even more titles to his credit.  Next on Bill's hit list is Hitler's Last Days, due out early in June, in which he takes on the Fuhrer himself.

You have to hand it to the guy for finding such a lucrative niche audience.  However, I think he missed a golden opportunity to explore his own legends and lies, allowing us a glimpse into his twisted mind, which places himself front and center of events, whether it be the Falkland Islands War or the Faux War on Christmas.  It would have also given him the chance to present his side to the custody battle with his ex-wife, which further threatens to undermine what little is left of his character.

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