NEW YORK — Meet the latest Abraham Lincoln biographer: Bill O'Reilly.
The Fox News host and best-selling author is working on "Killing Lincoln," a history book that will take readers "into Ford's Theater and into the mind of Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and on the manhunt to find and bring to justice the killer of one our greatest presidents," according to a statement issued Thursday by Henry Holt and Company.
"Killing Lincoln" is scheduled to come out in the fall of 2011 and will be co-written by Martin Dugard, whose previous works include "The Training Ground," an account of the Mexican War and such future Civil War generals as Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.
In a recent interview, O'Reilly said he got the idea after learning about Lafayette C. Baker, a 19th-century detective and spy who led the investigation into Lincoln's murder and helped track down Booth. Baker claimed later that he had possession of Booth's diary and that someone had "cut out eighteen leaves." Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, to whom Baker had turned over the diary, was accused of taking out the pages and was suspected of being involved in the assassination plot.
"The more I heard the more exciting and more interesting it became, and I said, `Look, I can do a good book on this,'" said O'Reilly, who added that "Killing Lincoln" will also provide lessons "for today, for contemporary America," but declined to be more specific.
"I want to keep that as a surprise," he said.
Many of O'Reilly's books, including "Culture Warrior" and "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity" were published by the Random House Inc. imprint Broadway Books. But after his publisher at Broadway, Stephen Rubin, left to run Holt, a division of Macmillan, O'Reilly decided to work with Holt on the Lincoln biography.
"I know Steve will be able to publish this book in a very effective manner," said O'Reilly, who added that he had not made a long-term commitment to Holt or to any publisher.