Marist Magazine: Fall 2014 - page 21

and Kennedy and Jesus were guys who
did extraordinary things, so when you get
that out and you cut out the clutter, people
Regarding the O’Reilly history “quadril-
ogy,” you have a well-known affinity for the
dictionary and don’t take words lightly. Why
did you choose the word “killing” to unify
these books?
It’s a good marketing tool. We’ll write
three more after Patton, and they’ll all have
the “killing” brand. It’s a brand now, and in
America you have to brand—whether it’s a
TV show, whether it’s a soft drink, whether
it’s a book. You have to brand it so people
know what it is. By reading my other books,
they know what to expect here. I thought it
was a flashy title and you know I’m a flashy
guy, so that’s what we did.
You went from Lincoln to Kennedy
to Jesus and now to Gen. George S. Patton.
What brought your attention to Patton and
why does his story matter?
WorldWar II is fascinating to me and
I think millions of other Americans. So the
book is about Patton, but it’s also about the
last five months of World War II in Europe
and about all the people and personalities
and all the chaos and brutality that’s hap-
pening—big canvas, lots of stuff going on.
Our research turned up lots of new things.
But the reason I chose Patton was because I
don’t believe that he was killed in an accident.
And that’s the official story. So we weave that
throughout the book, and the reader is going
to be presented with some pretty startling
evidence that Patton was assassinated. He
wasn’t the victim of an accident.
You have written three history books for
children, relating to Lincoln, Kennedy, and
Jesus. Why does history matter for children?
Well, it’s pathetic to see the urchins
these days in America. They don’t know
anything about their country. If you don’t
know anything, then you don’t care. That’s
my theory, so I want to get children to care
about America, to care about who they are in
the world. They have to know what happened
before they came around. They have to start
On History
A member of the Class of 1971, Bill O’Reilly majored in history and spent his junior year abroad at the
University of London. During his Marist years, he played on Marist’s first championship football team
and was a columnist for
The Circle
. After graduation, the Long Island native taught history and English
for two years at Monsignor Pace High School, a Marist Brothers school in Miami.
O’Reilly earned a degree in broadcast journalism from Boston University and embarked on a career
that earned him two Emmys in his early years of reporting. He went on to work at CBS News, ABC News,
Inside Edition
, and the Fox News Channel, where
The O’Reilly Factor
, broadcast worldwide, has been
the most watched cable news show for the past 14 years.
A best-selling author, O’Reilly has written 18 books, including five for children and one novel. He is a
graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. In 2001, Marist awarded him an honorary
degree. Over the years, Bill O’Reilly has kept his ties withMarist, visiting campus for football games and
class reunions and attending Marist events in New York City. He actively supports the College and a
number of years ago established the Winifred andWilliamO’Reilly Scholarship to honor his parents.
Former Marist football player Bill O’Reilly ’71 waits to toss the coin at the 2011 Homecoming
game against Georgetown on Leonidoff Field at Tenney Stadium.
“You don’t have to like history
to like my books. All you have
to do is like thrillers.”
to care about it. So we write the children’s
books. They’ve been very, very successful as
well, and they’ll be perennials. A lot of teach-
ers are now using them in the classroom.
Two final questions about student
activities that you were renowned for at
Marist. You wrote several columns for The
Circle, including some while you were study-
ing abroad. What drew you to journalism?
This is what got me going in journal-
ism: The Circle at Marist College. I didn’t
really know what I wanted to do when I
graduated, but I knew I had a talent in writ-
ing, and so that gave me the opportunity to
do it. Then I went to Boston University after I
taught high school and got my master’s from
there, and that’s how it started.
You played football for Marist and you
still come to games on Leonidoff Field. You
always stop by the locker room. What do you
say to the players before they go on the field?
Two things: Concentrate and focus on
what you have to do to that play. And have
fun. It’s got to be fun. We had a blast when
we were playing. So I think the looser you
play and the more you concentrate, the bet-
ter you’re going to do. And that’s what I tell
the guys.
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