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Newly elected president James A. Garfield had not allowed the closeness of the 1880 election to dilute his political agenda. Though only four months into his term, he had already appointed numerous officials and taken major initiatives in civil service reform, foreign policy, and civil rights. Then, tragically, on the morning of July 2nd, 1881, a deranged office seeker named Charles J. Guiteau shot the new chief executive. Garfield did not succumb immediately; indeed, he lived for two more months, and, as Candice Millard tells us in this astonishing book, Garfield was not killed by his assassin's bullets, but by his own doctors.