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Synopsis

James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men 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.


From the Hardcover edition.

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    Destiny of the Republic

    Wonderful exposition of Victorian medical practices , which more than the assassin's bullet were responsible for the death of president John Garfield. The "witch" doctors of the time snuffed a noble sprit who, quite probably, would have given us another Lincoln like presidency. We needed excellence in administration then, as we do now. An excellent read!

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    Destiny of the Republic:

    Best book I have read in this genre. History at its best. Miles ahead of O'Reilly and "Killing Lincoln." Well researched and tightly written, keeps you interested and focused through the entire book. Would recommend to anyone.

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    Excellent

    I knew very little about James Garfield, now I would like to read more about him beyond his death. I thought each part of the story was well covered. Unfortunately, since this is a real life event, while these things were going on at roughly the same time, they do not converge like you would hope. Still, the insight into the advances in medicine and science that were happening at this time, and how those things were resisted by the establishment were very interesting to read about. I would highly recommend this for those interested in narrative nonfiction.

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