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

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Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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 hap­pened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in tur­moil. 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 con­dition 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594136146
  • Publisher: Gale Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 10/2/2012
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 597
  • Sales rank: 192,462
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

CANDICE MILLARD is the New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and children.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 10, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Des­tiny of the Repub­lic: A Tale of Med­i­cine, Mad­ness and th

    Des­tiny of the Repub­lic: A Tale of Med­i­cine, Mad­ness and the Mur­der of a Pres­i­dent by Can­dice Mil­lard is a non-fiction account of the assas­si­na­tion of Pres­i­dent James A. Garfield. Mr. Garfield was the 20th Pres­i­dent of these United States and the sec­ond one to be assas­si­nated in office.

    I picked up Des­tiny of the Repub­lic by Can­dice Mil­lard because her first book The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Dark­est Jour­ney is a favorite of mine. I must admit that I didn’t know much about Pres­i­dent Garfield before read­ing this book, I some­what remem­ber my his­tory teacher men­tion­ing the assas­si­na­tion (and that only with some seri­ous prompts), but that’s just about it.

    My first sur­prise upon read­ing is that I actu­ally like Mr. Garfield, and admired him after fin­ish­ing the book. Garfield’s story is a true “rags to riches” tale, the one of an hon­est man, who worked hard and was, undoubt­edly, a genius.

    The research in the book is first class, the author ties in sev­eral sto­ries which cross each other toward the end. The story of the assas­si­na­tion, that of Alexan­der Gra­ham Bell who was try­ing to cre­ate a metal detec­tor to find the bul­let, Sen­a­tor Roscoe Con­kling of New York who exploited the polit­i­cal spoils sys­tem, and that of Joseph Lis­ter who was a pio­neer of anti­sep­tic surgery.

    It is now well known, as it was in 1881, that Pres­i­dent Garfield died of infec­tion he got from his doc­tors and not from the bul­let wound. If his doc­tors would have used Lister’s tech­niques (which were new at the time) he prob­a­bly would have been saved. How­ever, Garfield’s death did pop­u­lar­ized Lister’s meth­ods which saved thou­sands and thou­sands of people.

    The Des­tiny of the Repub­lic reads like a novel, an excit­ing page turner which will keep you want­ing for more. The book rein­tro­duces the read­ers to Pres­i­dent Garfield as an elo­quent, strong willed and brave politi­cian whose legacy should be known to many more Americans.

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  • Posted April 16, 2013

    I loved this book!

    I loved this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    I am a huge history fan, and I have read a large range of Americ

    I am a huge history fan, and I have read a large range of American history books, but it has been a long time since I was as engrossed in a book as I was this one. The story of Garfield's assasination and subsequent botched medical care is one I read with astonishment. The way the author dovetailed the work of Bell and Lister intoi this book was marvelous. Furthemore, I learned what a truly great man Garfield was, and what a shame that he was taken from the history books so prematurely.
    Do yourself a favor, and read this book!

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  • Posted February 1, 2013

    Great book, but ...

    This is a great book that I would definitely recommend to friends. However, I did get tired of the continual digression and yet another invention. From the beginning it bothered me that the author started it out at the World's Fair, kind of like Eric Larson's fantastic Devil in the White City, and used the same general format. If I hadn't read Devil before this, I probably would have loved this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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