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)
insightful - interesting - gripping
I learned way more about President Garfield and 19th century medical practices than I did in school. Truly a great loss to the country.
He handled the seriousness of the topic with grace.
I have no opinion
It's so obvious to us now how backward their medical care was. The arrogance of doctors hasn't changed much, though.
The mark of a great work of nonfiction is when you find yourself gripped by the unfolding of its events even when you know exactly how it's going to end. Millard does exactly that with this fantastic retelling of the inevitable, fateful meeting of James A. Garfield and Charles Guiteau, the latter of whom only turns out to be partly responsible for the former's death.
This book is part American Reconstruction history lesson, part indictment of the now-horrific medical practices of the 1800s. I rarely find historic works to be too short, but this one almost was.
Alexander Graham Bell who desperately works to save the president's life. This is a little-known piece of American history that's endlessly fascinating.
Alexander Graham Bell. Perfect Scottish brogue.
Take The Later Train, Mister President.
Excellence in every category that makes an audio book enjoyable: story, accuracy of historical details, writing style and narrative performance, all deserve the highest praise! A captivating audio book experience!
Making my way through all the US President a biography at a time.
I was apprehensive of this book as I read Scott Miller's McKinley bio which mixed the bios of President and Assassin with mediocre success.
Candice Millard deserves high praise for weaving three stories in one and so fluidly that the reader is never disjointed in temporal limbo. Garfield was perhaps the nicest president I've read about who had a bear hug for his enemies as well as his friends. His tragic shooting brought North and South together in post civil war America. While not a full bio of the president, the selection of stories and analysis included paint a clear and impressively full picture of Garfield (in stark contrast to Scott's McKinley). Add the assassin and inventor Alexander Graham Bell who all some how come equally alive and you've got perhaps the most riveting of the multi-biography I've seen. Garfield wasn't Lincoln but Candid Millard is as good as Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals.
I loved learning about a president that I really knew nothing about. The memorable moment was watching how he went through such pain without dragging anyone into his troubles or blaming. Good example for us all.
Listening to him read made the book come alive.
I'm a Sci-Fi Fan, during a road trip we stopped by a bookstore and I found an audiobook of L. K. Hamiltion's "Cerulean Sins" & I was hooked.
I found it to be one of the better history (story) books I’ve read. The author really has the knack of bringing you down into the room with the characters of history. Wonderful writing.
The one thing that stuck out in my mind was this, we had for the first time in a long time a President that didn’t want the job but was more than capable of performing the duties of his office and some idiot shoots him. Oh the irony. To top that, the doctors of the time are most likely the reason of him dying. How life would be if just that one man hadn’t died.
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