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
"[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)
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.
Like others, I picked this on a whim for a change of pace and based on other reviews. Very engaging story about a president who has always been a footnote to me. I especially enjoyed the way the author tied in the stories of other notable characters of the time, along with their role in the larger story.
Why had I never heard of this episode in TDR lore? Exciting, harrowing adventure with heart wrenching warmth. This would be a great car-trip-with-teens listen.
I have only listened to Destiny of the Republic.
A comparable book of this quality would have to be Millard's River of Doubt.
Probably more attention to details by emphasis that might be missed with just reading in.
I actually listened to it while driving to work and caught myself taking longer routes to get in more listening time.
I loved this book, just as I did River of Doubt. I hope Millard is planning another one soon.
I suspect the print version might be better. It is a good story about a man I knew little about, clearly an admirable man.
The narrator is really bad. His character voices are laughable, most especially his attempts to muster a female voice; verges on parody. It is a pleasant voice, just not a skilled reader.
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