The story is easy to follow and fascinating. It intertwines closely related accounts of contemporary giants, Dr Jospeph Lister (pioneer of sterile surgery) and Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone)
James Garfield is an ideal human being and a rare politician since he is intelligent, honest and was essentially forced into politics without any desire to control other human beings. He was intensely honest, brave and a self made family man with great respect for Black Americans at a time spanning slavery and emancipation. President Garfield is an inspiring human being. The biography reads like a captivating novel. You will not be able to put it down once you are through the second chapter.
The centennial world's fair which was attended by Garfield, Dr Lister and Alexander Graham Bell.
James Garfield's dramatic promotion from janitor to assistant professor at Western Reserve.
Great narration. James Garfield is well worth knowing. His life and story will enrich any listener.
For my first audio edition adventure I would have to say I am rather impressed. Reading a book of this type would prove nearly impossible.
The events that took place immediately after the shooting.
President Garfield followed by Alexander Bell
This book has me feeling amazed about all the suffering that has lead us up to this point.
This book was very exciting! Great story telling!
I’d don’t think I’ve ever listened to—or read—a book with so many awwww moments. It’s packed with real people doing things worthy of a Hollywood movie script: Inventing the first air-conditioner, for example, to ease a dying president’s discomfort in a steamy White House. Meanwhile Alexander Graham Bell amazes as he struggles to develop new technology in time to save a President’s life. But he’s only one of the historical figures we merely thought we knew. Chief among those saying and doing remarkable things is President James A. Garfield who’s clearly the brightest, the bravest, and the best of his generation. Before this book I knew Garfield was assassinated and nothing more. By the final chapter I was mourning his death with the rest of the nation in 1881.
It's hard for me to overstate how much I enjoyed this audiobook. The story is always intriguing, even surprising at times. Even someone not much interested in history will find a lot to enjoy here. It reads like a thriller, despite the fact that the whole world already knows how it ends. And the narration is superb.
In fact, if I had to find a fault with this performance (and this would be nitpicking), it's that the narrator is almost distractingly good. He has a perfectly clear and commanding voice. The book requires a wide variety of accents, both male and female characters, and a general late-nineteenth-century tone, and he handles them all with an impressive fluency. So much so that I sometimes found myself marveling at his skills instead of paying attention to the story.
And when I got back to the story, I marveled again at the author's remarkable knack for knowing exactly which direction to take, which details to mine from what was surely a huge amount of research. It feels like not a word is wasted, and nothing significant is missing. The language is straightforward but not artless, and the overall result is completely satisfying. In short, this audiobook is just downright excellent.
The intertwining of the stories about Garfield, Bell, Bliss, Conkling and Guiteaux is done superbly. The involvement of Bell and his own thoughts about his inventions were totally new to me and give the biography an unsuspected depth.
The description of the struggle for reform of the civil service, i.e. the power of the spoils system. It never occurred to me that patronage was that decisive a factor in American political life in the 19th century.
The different voices, pitches and accents of the main characters in the biography is well done, and never annoyes.
The description of the treatment of the wounded Garfield and the ignoring of Listers concept of anti-scepsis by the doctors. The passage about how to prevent Garfield from being killed at the hand of his doctors is great.
Though the term of President Garfield seems ancient history to most of us this story brought to light just how recently it was. Political intrigue, invention, egotism and the state of medical practice all played large parts in the life, and death of our twentieth President.
The writing was clear and flowed well at times evoking awe of the man himself and sorrow at his passing. The narration was well done and switching to tonalities af alternate voices seemed effortless. I enjoyed this book greatly and now find myself wondering why I let it languish in my library of “purchased but un-listened” for so long.
If you are interested in history then I heartily recommend you put “Destiny of the Republic” on your listen to it now list.
I favor history, non-fiction, lectures, and the occasional purely fictitious work. I also listen to many children's books with my family.
Gripping historical tale
Garfield, it's a shame he is hardly known today. Also, Alexander Graham Bell was made both real and simultaneously superhuman ... both men really ... they were just so thoroughly impressive in character and mind.
I find his accents and voice work for various characters to be very good and rarely, if ever, distracting. I'd probably mispronounce various things :)
I didn't want to stop listening, but my life doesn't permit that!
Just great. I liked this a tiny bit better than River of Doubt - but both were fantastic.
interesting, informative, revealing
Garfield himself. He was quite an incredible man, whose death could have been prevented. the doctor who cared (it should be 'killed') was a quack. truly a waste of a life.
Alexander Graham Bell.
James Garfield the President we never knew.
Love to read, and love to hear a book read to me.
Interesting thought-provoking memorable
Vividly brought to life a story I really didn't learn in history class.
Alexander Graham Bell at the world's fair in chapter 1
An exceptional reader made an interesting story even better.
Yes, it is an excellent book that is well-written and well-narrated. The three-pronged approach to the subject: Garfield himself, the assassin Guiteau and Alexander Graham Bell worked well. It also tied in changes in science and medicine, as well as society.