Customer Reviews for

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Average Rating 4.5
( 278 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(73)

3 Star

(26)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 167 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 9
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    Highly recommended

    Candice Millard has a superb narrative style and has written a compelling and fascinating book about the all too short presidency of James Garfield and the ignorant and abysmal state of the medical profession in his day. Garfield was an eloquent genius who, had he lived, would have made a first rate President of the United States. He didn't have to die at that time and the reasons for the mishandling of his recovery from a gun shot wound makes for a truly bone chilling read. A "hard to put down" book!

    40 out of 42 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 13, 2011

    Our Forgotten President

    James Garfield. Do you know who he is? If you posses an average knowledge of history you will probably respond with something like this. "Was he a president or something?" That's it. Not much more is probably known about Garfield and that is pretty distressing. In Candice Millard's recent book, "Destiny of the Republic - A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President" she attempts to right this wrong. This is a fascinating true story of an American who broke the chains of poverty through hard and honest work. Garfield went on to start a family build a home of a farm after saving his money, and continued to better hilself with self-education and would eventually leave a profound mark on this nation. Garfield loved his family and he loved his books. One reporter remarked after interviewing Garfield in his home during the 1880 presidential election, "wherever you looked you were presented with a book". When the Civil War erupted in 1861 Garfield left his family and served the Union and rose through the ranks to General. Towards the end of the war Garfield was elected to Congress without campaigning or asking for the office. His reputation was so strong the office came to him. After entering Congress everyone around him could see that Garfield was honest, fair and open minded in everything he did. Eventually he found himself tangled in the tumultuous presidential election of 1880. Running for the Republican Nomination was Ulysses S. Grant (third term), James G. Blaine and John Sherman. The nomination process went on for 2 days, ballot after ballot failed to claim a winner. Although Garfield, who had just won an Ohio Senate seat was working hard to get Sherman the nomination support slowing ebbed in his direction. Garfield did not want the nomination and worked hard to oppose it. However everyone was tired of the "party politics" at that point and Garfield's reputation was un-like anyone running. Garfield was nominated against his wishes and at the end of the second day was awarded the nomination. As was his work ethic, Garfield who was very uncomfortable with the nomination worked hard for his country and went on to defeat another Civil War hero for the presidency in 1880, Democrat Winfield Scott. Evil lurks all around us. At the same time Garfield was succeeding at everything he tried Charles E. Guiteau was failing. Guiteau attempted it seems everything. From obtaining entrance into college, law work, writing, theology, politics and even marriage he failed miserably in all of them. Guiteau most likely failed at everything because he was insane. During the 1880 election standing on a street corner Guiteau reportedly made a corner speech supporting Garfield. Because of this, Guiteau believed he was "owed" a political job from Garfield. After the election Guiteau haunted the White House and even met the president once, which was not unusual at the time. An office job was refused of course which led to Garfield's murder at Guiteau's hand only 2 months after the election. There is so much more to this excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to escape into the past for a brief time and learn something about our 20th president, James A. Garfield. OH, I Almost Forgot If you take the time to read this book you will be angered and upsept that Garfield should have survived the gunshot he sustained. The doctors so botched the work he suffered in misery and slowly died. A tragic fate he surely did not

    25 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Not "happy" but fascinating account.

    When my four-year-old daughter asked what I was reading, I informed her a "book about a president." Her reply, "boring!" Not at all! This book has been receiving rave reviews for a reason.

    It does not read like a history textbook but a fascinating narrative of a would-be amazing president and a truly one-of-a-kind American. It touches on how his assassination united a torn nation, bringing to mind the way we feel about 9/11 today.

    I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a fabulous, quick, but not "happy" read.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 29, 2011

    A Much Forgotten Statesman President

    President James Garfield is much neglected in an American History survey course due to the short length of his presidency. Read this book and you will regret that we did not have his wisdom, fairness, honesty, and sense of justice for much longer. It is very poignant at this point in our political circumstances that President Garfield in his time, was able to bring together diverse affiliations - especially between the North and the South. At this death, he even changed the values and priorities of that Conkling underling - the Vice President-now new President Arthur. This book is also a excellent overview of how arrogant and non-believing physicians in the science of germ theory and sepsis did more harm than good in the treatment of our 20th president - President James Garfield.

    13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 28, 2011

    One of the finest books i have read.

    A fascinating account of an important american and his life. I will review the author's other books after reading them as well!

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Great book!

    This book kept my attention from beginning to end. I learned a lot about this president.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    A great read!

    A book that tells a sad story about a man who could have gone down a one of the greatest of presidents but instead fallen by the insanity of anassasin.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2011

    Excellent! Could not put it down!

    Well written and inspiring! A great portrait of a good man and leader: President James Garfield.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 13, 2012

    Excellent book! Very well written and paced beautifully. I enj

    Excellent book! Very well written and paced beautifully. I enjoyed this book so much I read her previous book, River of Doubt. Ms. Millard is an excellent writer and she should be encouraged. I finished this book and attempted to read "The President and the Assassin" and that book is nowhere near as good as this one. Highly recommend this book and her "River of Doubt." She is on my short list of outstanding authors.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    A Lesson in Gratitude

    How grateful I am to Millard for not only introducing me to Garfield, who I am sure would have been one of our country's most stellar presidents, but for reminding me just how fortunate I am to live now, when we have it "easy" as compared to those who lived in the late 1800s. It was fascinating to see A. G. Bell in action and reading how hard he tried to do something, anything, to ease Garfield's suffering--the heroism of both men was so astonishing that I found myself believing them more fictional than real. Millard scraps the scabby egos of men like Bliss, Conkling, and Guiteau-three real villains -and allows each man to ¿hang¿ himself for all time simply by virtue of his own behavior.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2013

    Wonderful!!

    Absolutely beautifully written. Such an ellegant retelling. It really makes you fall in love with so many characters, especially A. G. Bell, Garfield, his wife, and his secretary. Best book I have read in awhile. It is so informative and so captivating, and VERY hard to put down. I would most definitely recommend it to anyone. So superb!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    A great book I would highly recommended reading! It gave me much insight to the Life of this President, and amazing man.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Great read

    Millard does an outstanding job of making what could be very dry material come to life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Great book

    Felt like you were there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 23, 2012

    Three amazing stories in one

    Until I read Candice Millard's DESTINY of the REPUBLIC I had no idea the kind of man James Garfield was and the kind of President he might have become. In fact, I really had no inkling at all who James Garfield was other than briefly our 20th President. He was a man who was able to unite the North and South even after his death. But the other incredible stories involve his shooter, Charles Guiteau, and the medical professionals supposedly treating President Garfield.

    Millard brings a very human portrayal to the man James Garfield. His strong belief in equality for all humans, his distaste for politics and the "rewards system" then common in government, and his personal side as a husband (although far from perfect) and father, and friend.

    The author brings up the subject of the insanity defense. Guiteau most likely was insane. But the country as a whole demanded his execution. And yet Millard brings up the point that Guiteau's execution really did not change things. It did not really provide closure for Garfield's immediate family. How could it? And it did not change the way America (or the Secret Service) looked at protection of our future Presidents from would be assassins.

    But the third story was the most maddening. That the American medical profession at the time could completely ignore the recently recognized treatment to prevent infection (antisepsis) and instead put their patient, James Garfield, through horrendous pain, agony, and ultimately a needless death. Today this would have been considered as malpractice.

    I first read Candice Millard's book on Theodore Roosevelt THE RIVER of DOUBT and greatly enjoyed her writing and telling of that story. Her handling of DESTINY of the REPUBLIC is right up there as a must read book. As an aside I find it interesting that she writes of two great Republicans; Theodore Roosevelt and James Garfield. What happened to the Republican Party? Where are men like these two individuals? Roosevelt believed in a strong military and believed we needed to take care of and protect our public lands. Garfield believed in equality and unifying America. I think that the present Republican Party should look back into their own history and ask themselves why aren't there great men like Roosevelt and Garfield running for the Presidency today? A party that once was a protector of our natural resources and of equality and acceptance.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2012

    If only we had Garfield today

    You will be left wanting more after concluding this piece of narrative art. Candice Millard captures your attention and places you in the midst of the story that unfolds during the short presidency of James Garfield. You not only catch a glimpse of the sorrow of a nation, but you find yourself desiring such a man to be president once again. If it were only possible that a humble, intelligent, God-fearing, loving husband and father might once again be the leader of the free world. Might one arise who never wanted the office?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2012

    A surprise favorite of mine

    I love picking up books about time periods or events that I know little about. This fit the category. It has a great narrative with a very nice flow. Even though I knew what would happen I found myself getting emotional several times. I bought this after seeing the author on Book TV, on which she was engaging and entertaining. She is also an incredible author. I rarely give 5 stars, but on this one I did. Well done!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read!

    Candice Millard did an excellent job with this subject. Destiny of the Republic will give you a feel for what life was like in the 1880's in America. This is not a biography of James Garfield as such,it is an overview of his life. The subject is his murder and how those close to him responded. It is a sad tale to be sure, however, a very interesting one. A great companion to read with this book is The President and the Assassin by Scott Miller, the story of William McKinley . If you love American as I do, you will enjoy these books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2012

    URGENT: Read this book

    After a year of reading various books by authors new to me, I was left mourning the sad state of literature. Then I read this book.

    The writing was superb. The author weaves the tale with great skill building to the climatic death, and more importantly bring her readers enthusiastically through the conclusion. I even read the acknowledgements!

    Any reader and lover of literature should read this. I am left wondering why the school's do not teach more about lesser known U.S. Presidents. I also wonder how different our country may have been had Garfield lived to serve his term.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Fascinating!

    I knew next to nothing of Garfield previously and he truly seems to have been an extraordinary man. The folly of his medical care astounds me! The complete lack of protection for the president is so foreign to my 21st century self. And there is nothing new under the sun... politics have always been ugly. I liked the quote at the start of Chap. 2, "I never meet a ragged boy in the street without feeling that I may owe him a salute, for I know not what possibilities may be buttoned up under his coat." --J. Garfield I also thought it was intersting her point of how Garfield's shooting served to unify the nation. This paragraph showed a glimpse of the greatness of the man: “Despite the relentless suffering Garfield had endured for more than two months, he had maintained not only the strength of his mind, but the essence of his personality. 'Throughout his long illness,’ Rockwell would later recall, ‘I was most forcibly impressed with the manner in which those traits of his character which were most winning in health became intensified.’ Even as he lay dying, Garfield was kind, patient, cheerful, and deeply grateful.” I read the hardback book. My mother listened to the audio book. She said the reader was excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 167 review with 5 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 9