My wife and I both wanted to read this excellent history for a book club we belong to, so we obtained a copy on CD and listened to it on our recent 2,100 mile vacation to NC and VA. It is a must for American history buffs. Though I'm a recovering politician with a masters in history, I knew little about Garfield beyond the facts that he was a Union Civil War General, had been elected president as a Republican and was assassinated shortly after taking office. I came to respect and like the man through Millard's treatment. I was surprised to find that he had not sought the nomination, had been for Sen. John Sherman, and was nominated against his wishes when the GOP convention bolted to him on the 36th ballot. I was also impressed with the kind of man he was. And dismayed to discover that his wound should not have been fatal, that what killed him was the introduction of infection by his doctors, especially the chief I'm-in-charge-here Dr. Bliss, as they did not believe in Lister's germ theory. An interesting subtheme was the efforts of Alexander Graham Bell to invent a machine that would locate the bullet in Garfield's body. It worked, except that Dr. Bliss would only let Bell try the machine on Garfield's right side where he wrongly but strongly believed the bullet was lodged. Bell's machine went on to save many lives before x-Rays were developed. I previously enjoyed Millard's book "River of Doubt" and am looking forward to reading her "Hero of the Empire." She is a treasure for those of us who still care about history.
Robert A. Hall
Author: The Coming Collapse of the American Republic