This book reminded me of some of Erik Larson's best work with a similar knack for using primary sources to tell a story vividly.
His voice was measured, resonant, and serious. Lovely voice with all the gravitas needed for such a sober tale.
Excellent history outlining the intertwined stories of James Garfield, his assassin (Charles Guiteau), and the arc of scientific discovery (via Joseph Lister and the push for antiseptic practices, and Alexander Graham Bell and his attempt to build a machine to find the embedded bullet). Millard weaves a wonderful tale, offering a glimpse at President Garfield (a man who it is truly a shame we never got to see as a full term president) and his impoverished childhood, thoughtful intellect, and strong ethics, and also providing a snapshot of the times as we stood on the cusp of modern medicine. Many might well know the story, that Garfield's death was just as much the fault of his well-meaning but inept surgeons and doctors as it was the fault of the bullet. Millard has painstakingly scoured sources to provide a timeline, peppered with Garfield's own writings, and the delusions of his murderer. Entertaining, effecting, and all too short.
This work fills an historical gap in American history I did not even know existed. Its a little too sentimental for my taste at times and I admire River of Doubt as my favorite of the two works I have read by her. However, this is the more important history work.
The simple fact; Candice Millard is a very good writer and I eagerly await her next book! I wouldn’t call this book ‘great’, but it most assuredly is a very good book that I would rank as her ‘second best’. Alas, I admit my impartiality was arrogated by River of Doubt which I believe to be Millard’s equivalent to a Hat-Trick. That book set the bar so high that I’m not sure it can be topped? Therefore, if you have never listened to any of her books I suggest you start with Hero of the Empire, then to this and then finish with River of Doubt. Good, Better, Great!
Destiny of the Republic has detailed information about President Garfield and the events that surrounded and precipitated this pivotal event. Prior to this book I knew nothing about this man save the fact that he was the second President to ever be assassinated. The book has good background information on all the historical figures and it thoroughly explained the life of President Garfield and his many accomplishments. So, I learned a tremendous amount about the man and have gained respect for him because of this book. There was some ‘filler’ in the early chapters of the book, but not enough to cause me to lose interest, even though it did make the listening a bit sluggish at that point. From the critical event right to the end it maintained a good pace and was very interesting, albeit graphic at times. If you have a weak constitution you may want to skip over some of the medical details.
Paul Michael is a very good narrator, in particular for this type of content, and he made the listening very easy. However, he does have some very annoying voice imitations that can be very grating at times. These points are sparse and not too bad in this book though.
I’ve reached a point of experience on Audible that I give five-stars overall only if book completely blows me away. Therefore, I gave this book four-stars. If you like history to any degree or you just want to learn more about this particular event or the people involved I think you’ll find this book very worthwhile. If you dislike history, but you like mystery or thriller novels this book reads so close to one I think you’ll enjoy it as well. I will keep the book in my library and I will listen again in the future, while I wait for another book by C. Millard!
I can't remember why I bought this book. Not sure I even knew that Garfield was a president! This is a great book, and a great narration of the same.
Learning about an event I knew little about.
He did a good job.
I gained a lot of respect for both Garfield and Bell; men of integrity.
I'm not usually one to read historical books, in fact I typically go for scientific ones. However, this book is extraordinary. The story alone is endlessly interesting and Millard's account of it puts it in the most riveting of forms. Exhaustively researched and well formatted. Moreover, Paul Michael's performance is unparalleled. The best performance of an audible book I've listened to so far.
The story itself was fantastic. It was enough to keep me listening despite the very distracting narration. Why on earth do men think they need to put on a high pitched voice to depict women? And the voices used for Garfield, Gateaux, and Bliss were equally distracting and unnecessary for the story telling. The narrator himself had a wonderful voice, but his insistence on creating character voices took away from the enjoyment of the book.
This is an excellent book for anyone who would like to know more about this little-known President, James Garfield. History aficionados and those who love the suspense of a dramatic novel will enjoy this book. The book reveals much about Garfield's private life, including his marriage, infidelity, parenthood and his aversion to seeking The White House. Haunting parallels are revealed between the assassination of President Lincoln and Garfield. Some scenes are filled with sorrow and suffering; others describe the gruesome details of Garfield's wounds, and others reveal the patriotic fervor that enveloped the national after Garfield was shot in 1881.
Portrayals and capturing the times, it gives a portrait of one of the greatest men in American history- that schools never speak of. A man who's measure is needed now more than ever.
Wow! This is one of the best historical non-fiction books I've come across yet! The narration is good and the story is riveting. It's guaranteed to hold your interest.