This little remembered episode from American history is thoroughly American in character but also fully worthy of a Shakespearian tragedy.
From Garfield, an Ohio farm boy who grew up to be a well educated man of deep and noble convictions, to his assassin, Charles Guiteau, a deluded political and religious fanatic, the figures seem larger than life. Then there are the "supporting" characters--Garfield's vice-president, Chester A. Arthur, a man transformed by Garfield's assassination: the political boss, Roscoe Conklin; Garfield's arrogant doctor, Dr. Doctor Bliss; and even Alexander Graham Bell, who struggled over an invention which might help save Garfield's life.
I was moved by this book and the story it tells holds much relevance for today's world in terms of the pitfalls of political factionalism and the dangers of religious fanaticism. Indeed, it seems shameful that the "Garfield" with which most people are familiar is a cartoon cat.
I am a voracious reader with fairly eclectic taste. I like both fiction and non-fiction, biography, history and current events. I like well written mysteries and suspense and I love 19th and 20th century classical literature as well as modern fiction. My favorite author is Philip Roth but I also love Trollope, Hardy, Jonathan Franzen, Jane Austen and Edith Wharton. My favorite biographer is Robert Caro.
This very enjoyable book gives an interesting perspective on the contrast between the wealth of scientific progress and discovery occurring at the time of President Garfield's assassination and the ignorance used in treating his wounds. It involves the contrasts between the environment of corruption and egotism of some of the actors in the drama with the nobility and unselfishness of others. Further the book acquaints us with the promise of the man who was James Garfield, a president about whom few of us have any knowledge.
The narrator does multiple voices and accents as well as I have heard them done in audiobook format for a work of non-fiction and makes the book as exciting as any work of fiction, although one knows from the start the end of the story. I recommend it highly for its unusual approach to an important moment in our nation's history from multiple perspectives.
I learned a great deal about a president I knew almost nothing about. Well written story and excellently narrated. This is one I'll listen to again.
always looking for the next fabulous audiobook. I'm so glad to have found the audible website.
havent read the book, but the way the book was spoken and delivered by the narrator
really enhanced my appreciation. I loved his accent, and his delivery.
the way it draws out the character of many people. It reflects upon their attainments,
without loosing sight of their soul and spirit as well. I developed a huge fondness for this
president, his inherant decency and ideals, and wished that his fate had not collided so tragically with the figure of Giteau, because it seemed that he could have done much good.
Also, the way his assasain was drawn was interesting. The workings of a man's delusional mind are clearly examined and laid out. Like his victim, he was a person who felt impelled to make a contribution to society, but lacked the necessary talent and insight to do so.
beautiful rendition. He delivers the words of the president just as I imagine they were thought or said
No, not for me. It was a bit of an emotional roller coaster, and much too long for that.
In Australia, after a person of similar calibre as Giteau killed about 30 people in one session they banned the sale of guns, with some exceptions, and made them much less accessible to people in general.
I am glad about that. There are some things that are much too lethal to be easily available.
So much more interesting that I expected. No one learns about Garfield in school, yet he was such an amazing man. One wonders how American history would be different, had he lived. Lots of tidbits about Garfield, Alexander Graham Bell, post Civil War medicine and more. Well narrated.
This is why I love audiobooks. This is so much better than a movie based on a great book. Now I'm off to read the author's other Audible book
An engrossing historical account, beautifully-narrated. All of the personages are memorably depicted, and Millard does a wonderful job of re-creating a lost era of American culture and politics. By turns amusing and tragic, I'm so glad I used a credit for this book!
Me, myself, and I.
There is nothing that I can write that would do this story justice. An amazing work, amazing experience, expertly narrated, and worth every moment I stole away from whatever responsibilities I had. I have a newfound respect for James A. Garfield, and a newfound fascination with the late 19th century. Who knew it was filled with such drama? Well...many people, I am sure, but experiencing it through the lens of medicine, invention, politics, and insanity in the 1880s brings a whole new appreciation.
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
When reading long narrative passages, Paul Michael was excellent. But using different voices for every quote, even brief 2-3 word quotes, resulted in a somewhat choppy effect. It became enough of a distraction to bring down the performance score, but I suspect it wasn't the narrator's choice so much as the producer. Either way, I think a straight up reading would have been better.
The tragedy of the horrible suffering Garfield experienced at the hands of a physician who, even by the unenlightened standards of the day, showed only self-serving arrogance even to the grieving family. Alexander Graham Bell's devotion to try and find a way to detect the bullet in an effort to save a good man's life.
Enlightening story of a president who was not well known to me. As the epilogue states, this was a man whose character and courage would sadly be forgotten eventually by the general public. He deserved better from history.
I was thoroughly engrossed in the narrative, it is an amazing congruence of personal brilliance and madness that would have made a great novel. But I found myself wanting to punch my car stereo each time the narrator broke into a character accent. Listening to Mr. Michael try to do Mrs. Garfield's voice almost made me bail on the rest of the book. It might just be me, but I wish all narrators would realize that the interest is in the book, not their vocal acting abilities. Let the story unfold, don't distract with your vocal prowess.