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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President | [Candice Millard]

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil.
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Publisher's Summary

James A. Garfield may have been the most extraordinary man ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back.

But the shot didn’t kill Garfield. The drama of what hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. The unhinged assassin’s half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his con­dition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet.

Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history.

From the Hardcover edition.

©2011 Candice Millard (P)2011 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"[Millard demonstrates] the power of expert storytelling to wonderfully animate even the simplest facts....make[s] for compulsive reading. Superb American history." (Kirkus)

"Splendidly insightful....stands securely at the crossroads of popular and professional history" (Booklist)

“Sparklingly alive…[Millard] brings to life a moment in the nation’s history when access to the president was easy, politics bitter, and medical knowledge slight. Under Millard’s pen, it’s hard to imagine its being better told.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (2348 )
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 (1393)
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  •  
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 12-05-12
    C Chestnuthill, MA, United States 12-05-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    77
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    219
    70
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    FOLLOWING
    4
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great story, bad accents"

    The story itself is very good and well written. It sheds light on a period that not many people know about. The narration is OK except when he does women's voices or accents. He should just use his normal voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Nolet Newhall, CA, US 09-17-12
    Robert Nolet Newhall, CA, US 09-17-12 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Blending of historical characters"
    Where does Destiny of the Republic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very good! Not aware of the effect of this incredibly short presidency on the history of the country.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debora Fullerton Lacey, WA USA 09-13-12
    Debora Fullerton Lacey, WA USA 09-13-12 Member Since 2013

    bookish

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Garfield"
    If you could sum up Destiny of the Republic in three words, what would they be?

    very educational


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Garfield. Didn't know anything about him before I read this book. Because of the descriptions of him, I want to know more.


    What does Paul Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He made the individuals more individual.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I knew that Garfield was going to die, but listening to the events, I did cry when he died, and the national reactions to his death. I really winced alot when they described all the horrible treatments that he was subjected to.


    Any additional comments?

    Any book that makes me want to explore more about the subject is a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael K. McCleary SE US 09-13-12
    Michael K. McCleary SE US 09-13-12 Member Since 2015

    Just a poster

    HELPFUL VOTES
    19
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    19
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    0
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    Story
    "Unexpectedly entertaining"

    There were a couple of dry points but all tolled a good book. If you enjoy knowing a little of the details of history and the interplay of some of the great names we've heard about all our lives it is a very good story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana San Francisco, CA, United States 09-12-12
    Diana San Francisco, CA, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    4
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Really engaging book despite that you know the end"
    Where does Destiny of the Republic rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Amongst my favorites.


    What does Paul Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Verifies my notion that the best audio books are those read by professional voice actors. The readers voice was clear and the pace was perfect. At first his female impersonations were a little distracting but I got use to his transitions. Overall I really enjoyed listening to this book


    Any additional comments?

    Destiny of the Republic was as entertaining as it was educational.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    glenn YORK, PA, United States 09-10-12
    glenn YORK, PA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2012

    Glenn Anderson

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    5
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    "Excellent book"

    Very interesting story. Very interesting twist of famous inventer, Alexander Graham Bell, trying to save the life of President Garfield. I did not know much about James Garfield, but found him to be a very interesting person. It is sad that he was murdered, in that he may have been one of the better President's.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Milton Orange, CA, United States 09-10-12
    Milton Orange, CA, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    33
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    Story
    "Must reading for history lovers."

    The descriptions of the times, the fair, Edison and Alexander Graham Bell and the disaster of the practice of medicine were amazing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hollace ODESSA, FL, United States 09-10-12
    Hollace ODESSA, FL, United States 09-10-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    8
    3
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "History with supense"
    Any additional comments?

    This was a very good book. My only complaint is that the medical descriptions were a little TMI for my taste. But, these are easily skipped over. Fascinating book. It is written in a way that you want to keep listening. I listened to this with my husband and we both enjoyed it together.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Asa WASHINGTON, UT, United States 08-21-12
    Asa WASHINGTON, UT, United States 08-21-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great read"
    Would you listen to Destiny of the Republic again? Why?

    No, I try not to listen to the same book twice.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Destiny of the Republic?

    Great story telling


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The train scene where the president was shot


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mother Goose Florida 08-21-12
    Mother Goose Florida 08-21-12 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    5
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Awesome....must read."
    If you could sum up Destiny of the Republic in three words, what would they be?

    Garfield for President!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I learned so much about a man I knew so little.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Garfield's front porch speeches.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed and cried. The author brings you right into the story. I could not stop listening.


    Any additional comments?

    What a great man. It is sad that his time was so short as President. If you enjoy American history, this is a must read. HIghly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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