Heather Havrilesky at Bookforum:
Bemoaning the stoned slackers of the world might not be a wise choice for the author responsible for what we might term the “Mansplanations of History for Stoned Slackers” series: Killing Lincoln (2011), Killing Kennedy (2012), Killing Jesus (2013), and Killing Patton (2014), every single one of which rested comfortably in the No. 1 spot for weeks at a time. In fact, over the past two decades, O’Reilly has been in the position with seven different books for forty-eight weeks total. How does he do it?
Here’s a clue: If mansplaining means “to comment on or explain something to a woman in a condescending, overconfident, and often inaccurate or oversimplified manner,” then O’Reilly clearly sees America as a suggestible (though fortunately profligate) woman in desperate need of a seemingly limitless amount of remedial mansplanation. And to be fair, if the most popular nonfiction books are a reliable guide, Americans crave mansplaining the way starving rats crave half-eaten hamburgers. We’d like Beck—not an education professor—to mansplain the Common Core to us. We want Malcolm Gladwell—not a neuroscientist or a sociologist or psychologist—to mansplain everything from the laws of romantic attraction to epidemiology. And we want O’Reilly—not an actual historian—to mansplain Lincoln, Kennedy, Jesus, and all of the other great mansplaining icons of history. We want mansplainers mansplaining other mansplainers. We dig hot mansplainer-on-mansplainer action.