Destiny of the Republic

Destiny of the Republic

A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of A President

Book - 2011
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A narrative account of the twentieth president's political career offers insight into his background as a scholar and Civil War hero, his battles against the corrupt establishment, and Alexander Graham Bell's failed attempt to save him from an assassin's bullet.
Publisher: New York, NY : Doubleday, [2011]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780385526265
Characteristics: x, 339 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jul 28, 2020

I knew next to nothing about Garfield before reading this book. Seems to have been a man of remarkable intellectual power and accomplishments, who displayed principle and grace in his political career. Leaves one wondering what could have been. Author Millard artfully weaves together the stories of the many players, some household names even today, in the more than two month drama after the shooting.

Oct 21, 2019

This was my first Candice Millard book. I wasn't sure if I would enjoy it but the topic sounded good. I really liked it! Candice Millard does her research and really knows how to keep you turning the page. This story is about President Garfield who was the president who really didn't want to be president and then was only president for 6 1/2 months! But you have to read the book to find out all the details. Give this book a try I don't think you will regret it.

Jun 03, 2019

It is as if much of our own history lies beneath our gaze, waiting to be discovered. Here is a story of a man who is known for his death but not his life. James Garfield is revealed as a great man, a humanitarian, who was cursed by a wanderer of many delusions, and a doctor who greedily and disastrously dominated his care. While the first half of the book tells of Garfield's life, the second half can be described as the life of his death, for Garfield survived the assassin's bullet but not his doctor's care. Be forewarned: the author takes an unstinting look at Garfield's agonizing deterioration. Still, this is a history worth knowing.

Apr 02, 2019

Totally engrossing about Garfield the the primitive medicine of the day.

Jan 18, 2019


Dec 27, 2018

Excellent, excellent book about a period of US history relatively unknown to me. What did I know about James Garfield? Next to nothing. But this book, so well written and engrossing, makes me want to know more about him. Can't wait to read more of this author's books.

Oct 11, 2018

Due to the briefness of his time in office, James Garfield is often left off presidential ranking lists by historians. Candice Millard vividly brings him to life in this book that focuses on the assassination and his ultimate death, but also gives context to his background. The humble beginnings, Civil War service, and time in Congress are explored, and his personality, intelligence, and willingness to stand up to the boss system of politics on principle suggest that he had the makings of a good president, if not a great one. By contrast, the sheer megalomania and narcissistic character of his assassin, Charles Guiteau, is also examined, and here we have a deluded bill dodging lunatic convinced of his own glory. The strong differences between both men are capably demonstrated throughout the narrative, and the author also vividly depicts the sheer incompetence of medicine that ultimately ended Garfield's life. A thoroughly compelling book that sheds much needed light on a leader who deserves it.

SnoIsleLib_MaryM Aug 13, 2018

Candice Millard provides a wonderful narrative, revealing insights and details about Garfield's short stint as a reluctant U.S. President. She brings the historical time period into an interesting light, and tells a page-turner of a story. Her research is in-depth, and her story-telling ability draws the reader in.

May 18, 2018

Book tells of the life and death of President James A. Garfield, the political culture and medical practices of his time, key characters in politics and science as well as the delusional fellow who took Garfield’s life.

Because his time in office was so short, Garfield seems mostly below the radar when learning of presidents. He seemed a remarkable man. Medical practices unveiled were despicable. Assassin’s story almost comic relief. Author did a good job tying pieces together, but still left something lacking for me.

Dec 04, 2017

very readable examination of a little known (to me) US president, the political theatre of the day, the state of medical practice especially surgery at the time, a brief overview of legal system especially the use of the " insanity defense", the work of Alexander Graham Bell in electronics. good bibliography.

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