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Most Helpful Favorable Review
5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.
Nice, concise review of this time period.
posted by 19thCenturion on January 5, 2012Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Most Helpful Critical Review
7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.
Weaker of the two late 1800's presidential assassin books
Millard tells the better story, but Miller had the better material. History, to have impact, needs theater and relevance in its telling, and our great historians (Shelby Foote, David McCullough, Joseph Ellis, Edmund Morris, Jay Winik, Stephen Ambrose, Stephen Catton, Carl Sandberg, Barbara Tuchman, Hampton Sides and Candice Millard) have all been captivating storytellers first and foremost. Miller is simply a former journalist.
Miller tries to tell this story as a parallel biography: McKinley and, his assassin, Leon Czolgosz. I think the story, unfortunately, was more in the clash between capital expansion and anarchy. Neither McKinley nor Czolgosz were prime movers of their time, they were flotsam on the waves of countervailing currents of America of the time. Miller seems to recognize this with his extended, yet inert, focus on the anarchist voice, Emma Goldman. The problem with the anarchist story is that it doesn't fit nicely into the time frame Miller has prescribed ... the growing anarchist movement goes from well before Haymarket, featured here, through, at least, the bombing of the LA Times Building in 1910.
Like Garfield, McKinley was not served by his security or medical teams, but Miller doesn't really pursue that angle. Todd Lincoln's presence at both assassination attempts goes un-mentioned. And much like wasting an Oscar winner in doing voice-over, Miller hardly mentions Teddy Roosevelt, McKinley's VP and successor. I think he was worried about the comparison.
posted by jcrubicon on November 2, 2011Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 2, 2012
A very dull book
The factual data in this book could have been written on a pamplette instead of the neverending pages of "blah blah blah" in this book. I like a good factual story, this had maybe 20 pages of facts and sewn together assumptions and fluff for the remainder of the book. I liken this book to a really bad crab cake, 10% crab the rest was filler.
0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.