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I loved The River of Doubt, about Theodore Roosevelt’s journey down the Amazon, and Candice Millard’s first book, so I couldn’t wait for Destiny of the Republic, and I was not disappointed. James A. Garfield was only President for a few short months before he was shot, and Millard makes us feel that loss poignantly. She vividly illustrates the best and the worst of politics, society, technology and medicine of 130 years ago, couched in a riveting narrative that races to its destined conclusion.
— Sara, Atlanta
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 hap-pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur-moil. 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 con-dition 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.