The President And The Assassin: McKinley, Terror, And Empire At The Dawn Of The American Century
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The President And The Assassin: McKinley, Terror, And Empire At The Dawn Of The American Century

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,312 ratings  ·  179 reviews
A SWEEPING TALE OF TURN-OF-THE-CENTURY AMERICA AND THE IRRESISTIBLE FORCES THAT BROUGHT TWO MEN TOGETHER ONE FATEFUL DAY

In 1901, as America tallied its gains from a period of unprecedented imperial expansion, an assassin’s bullet shattered the nation’s confidence. The shocking murder of President William McKinley threw into stark relief the emerging new world order of what...more
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published (first published 2011)
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Jeffrey Keeten
That's all a man can hope for during his lifetime - to set an example - and when he is dead, to be an inspiration for history.
William McKinley


 photo william_mckinley_zps1cadcd4b.jpg

Scott Miller used the assassination of President William McKinley as the centering point of this historical overview of the events at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that brought America forward as a world power. This book came out almost at the same time as Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Mu...more
Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)
Feb 02, 2013 Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: want to know how "America, F*CK YEAH!" got started?
Recommended to Karla (Mossy Love Grotto) by: Kerrie
A very readable popular history of the beginnings of American imperialism as we know it today, linked to McKinley's assassination. Prior to reading this, I had known that there were many cycles of boom and bust in the Gilded Age, but I'd had no idea that it was due in no small part to full-throttle production. According to the wisdom of the times, it was cheaper to produce more with smaller profits than tailor output to fit demand and make larger profits. Therefore, by the time the mid 1890s rol...more
Mara
The late 19th century was a bumping time for much of America. With the pesky Gold versus Silver standard thing out of the way (think of the troubles it would cause if the Fed started buying up Bitcoins), McKinley was able to swagger into office amid a boom in American production and exports. Railroads are crisscrossing the nation, we’re fighting over a whole bunch of islands and coming to the conclusion that we’d pretty much be doing the entire world a disservice if we refused to get at least a...more
Clayton
This is an interesting telling of a period of American history that I knew little about. This follows the rise of William McKinley from his humble beginnings in Canton, Ohio to the White House, and his eventual assassination. It also follows the end of the gilded era in the United States and the rise of the progressive era. At the epicenter is the Industrial Revolution and the fight for workers rights.

I didn't really expect this book to be a full history of Pres. William McKinley but that's what...more
Arminius
The President and the Assassin is a great book about an underappreciated President and a relatively unknown assassin. The author goes back and forth between President McKinley and his assassin Leon Czolgosz.

I will start with President McKinley’s great accomplishments. First, exports nearly doubled going from $833 million in 1896 (when McKinley took office) to 1.5 billion when he was unfortunately murdered.
Workers wages increased, cotton, wheat and corn prices climbed and inventions for convenien...more
Alicia
This book was amazing if only for the fact that I learned so much about the US and their foreign policies of the early 1900's. The story of our involvement with Hawaii, Guam, Cuba and the Philippines is all in there. Amazing what just one president did.

It is also the story of the assassin that killed him and I think the author did an amazing job going back and forth between the two stories and keeping us interested in what what going on with both men.

Finally, I was shocked at how similar things...more
Sally
Since I live near Buffalo and had recently visited the Roosevelt inauguration site, I jumped at the opportunity to borrow and read this book. I knew a small amount about McKinley's assassination, that it happened at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo and was carried out by anarchist, Leon Czolgosz. This book details the lives of McKinley and Czolgosz until their paths met on September 06, 1911. They came from very different backgrounds and while McKinley headed a country on its path to gobal...more
Tory
I was admittedly more interested in learning more about the anarchist movement at the turn of the century than the Spanish-American War but the book devotes most of its time to McKinley and his expansionist policy. The parallels between McKinley's overseas policies and Bush's two wars and anarchy in the Gilded Age as our modern day terrorism are subtle yet well drawn.
Jay Connor
This must be my week for late 1800's intrigue. I just reviewed Candice Millard's strong "The Destiny of the Republic" about the events surrounding the murder of James Garfield and now I turn to Scott Miller's "The President and the Assassin" which travels not too dissimilar ground in the assassin of Wm. McKinley.

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 Mc...more
Stephanie
This was a Goodreads First Reads win. I really enjoyed the book and learned quite a bit about a time I did not know much about. I usually read earlier U S history and have never really found earlier parts of the 1900's and late 1800's that interesting. This book changed my mind about those periods in time. We have all heard of the Maine, the Rough Riders and the assisination of President McKinley but this book gives you an interesting look at this history in greater detail. I learned several thi...more
Cheryl Gatling
This book begins with President McKinley's reception at the Pan-American Exposition, and Leon Czolgosz walking up to him and pulling a gun. I thought, well, that's it. That's the assassination of the President. What is the rest of the book going to be about? The rest of the book backs up and looks into all the political, economic, and military events shaping the American of 1901, and into the lives of McKinley and Czolgosz. McKinley was an affable, somewhat bland man who hated conflict. He was e...more
Alfredo
This book by Scott Miller takes us into a journey to the times surrounding the assassination of president McKinley; rather than focus specifically on the assassination, which receives only cursory coverage, the author focuses on the political and social times with special emphasis on the rise of American overseas imperialism and anarchy in the USA.

We follow varied characters in different times as the main storyline builds onto the fateful shooting in Buffalo New York in September 1901.

I found th...more
Jim
My junior high history teacher — going back to the mid 1960s — told me to read this book during a phone conversation we had several months ago. I’m glad I did my assignment.

“The President and the Assassin” started slowly. I didn’t think, early on, that I would finish it. About a third into to it, though, my interest picked up. At the halfway mark, I was hooked.

Scott Miller provides the reader with a dose of late 19th and early 20th century politics, an overview of the rise of anarchism in Europe...more
Broadsnark
Miller is a good writer and it is a smooth read. The turn of the last century is a fascinating time in American history. He does a pretty good job of showing how the US empire grew. The idea of juxtaposing President McKinley's life against that of the man who killed him was a good one. It does give you a certain sense of the time.

It is clear; however, where Miller's politics lie. Not surprisingly, a man who worked for the Wall Street Journal and graduated from Cambridge does not have a lot of lo...more
Alex Jutila
Quick Review: Scott Miller is a fucking idiot.

Long Review:
Wow, what a nightmare of a historical narrative. Asides from being blatantly biased, Scott Miller really did his best to give the most distorted view of anarchism available in paperback. Chapter Five, "The Government is Best Which Governs the Least", takes the cake. In the last pages of this chapter, Scott Miller offers us his view of the history of anarchism. This mostly breaks down to ol' Josiah Warren and his commune. Miller doesn't bo...more
Steven Z.
If you are a fan of narrative history that is well written and provides an engaging story with a tinge of analysis then Scott Miller’s THE PRESIDENT AND THE ASSASSIN should be of interest. Miller has written a dual socio-political biography of William McKinley through his assassination in 1901, and the development of anarchism in the United States zeroing in on Leon Czologosz, McKinley’s assassin, and other anarchists including Emma Goldman. As you read the book many comparisons to contemporary...more
Matthew Hunter
Absolutely fantastic! Miller tells the parallel stories of President McKinley and his anarchist assassin Leon Czolgosz. Teddy Roosevelt, Emma Goldman, Andrew Carnegie, Johann Most, William Jennings Bryan and many other important figures make appearances in this drama. Throughout my reading of the book, I was struck by how little I knew about turn of the century America and the McKinley presidency. Why is that? The Spanish-American War, occupations of the Phillipines, Guam, Cuba, the dawn of US i...more
Jason
Very comprehensive. Ostensibly the story of President McKinley's assassination, the book is pretty wide ranging: covering the history of anarchist philosophy in Europe and the US, American expansion into the Pacific and the Caribbean, the Spanish American War, the American labor movement and the evolution of the Republican party from slave liberators to the pro-industry party of the rich. In this respect, it's one of the more valuable and readable popular history books I've read in some time.

McK...more
Andi Marquette
I've been really into Gilded Age and early Progressive Era history lately, as I said elsewhere, because of what I consider some parallels between political and social situations then and now.

I didn't know much about President McKinley or the assassin who shot him in September, 1901 (McKinley would die a week after the event), but author Scott Miller sure did enlighten me about that. He's a former Wall Street Journal and Reuters correspondent, so you can be sure that he tells a good story with a...more
Jill Hutchinson
President William McKinley is usually remembered as the President who was assassinated which brought Teddy Roosevelt to the Presidency. Roosevelt's vibrant persona and daring deeds overshadowed the thoughtful McKinley but it was McKinley who began the programs/conquests that Roosevelt carried to fruition (or disaster, depending on your politics). It was a time when America emerged as an industrial powerhouse, spreading influence around the world, usually by armed forces.

This is a dual biography...more
Martin
A big Thank You to the author, Scott Miller, for writing this book!

Objective and very informative (without getting tedious), this book offers a good overview of (and is a great way to learn about) the era of McKinley's presidency (1896-1901), including the Spanish-American War and the annexation of Hawaii. McKinley truly seems to have been a real decent man and a devoted husband.

The author also gives his readers a lot of information on that period's economic & geopolitical contexts, such a...more
Kate
Enjoyable history of the McKinley assassination from a broader perspective, with information about McKinley's push for empire, wars/territory wrangling in the Philippines and Guam as pawns for the real prize, Cuba, as well as background on anarchism and a bit of Leon Czolgosz's life and the anarchist espousal of terrorism (well, some anarchists' espousal, anyway). Slightly bothersome were the occasional offhand conservate assumptions (the author apparently writes for the WSJ, maybe he didn't not...more
Dawn
“The President and the Assassin” bounces back and forth in time between Leon Czolgosz’s attack on William McKinley in 1901, and McKinley’s evolutionary policies regarding American expansionism. A large chunk of the book is devoted to the Spanish-American war, including the acquisition of the Philippines. Smaller chapters cover the Open Door policy and the Boxer Rebellion, and there are a couple of paragraphs about the 1898 annexation of Hawaii. Miller does a good job of covering the growth of th...more
Linda
Personally I found large parts of this book pretty dull, but I did learn some things about America during McKinley's time. I think the main problem for me is that I prefer learning about economics and politics through the lives of individual people not just in mind numbing listing of "this happened and then that happened which caused that to happen".
Barbara Lovejoy
I first heard of this book when Brian Lamb interviewed the author, Scott Miller, on Q&A a few weeks ago. I really knew VERY little about this time in our history so I was eager to know more. I really enjoyed the way the author paralleled what was happening in the life of Pres. McKinley with what was happening in the life of the assassin at the same time leading up to the assassination. Fascinating!
Tom Drabant
I liked this book a great deal since it reflected the Capitalistic and Jingoistic feelings of the affluent Upper Class next to the Anarchistic and Socialistic desires of the Lower Class. It provided an interesting juxtaposition of these two classes and how they came into conflict as well as the history behind McKinley's assassination. Tom
Edward Sullivan
A fascinating book that offers a compelling and insightful look at the heights of America's industrial age and its imperialistic ambitions born out of the Manifest Destiny mentality, the anarchist movement, and political developments in Europe and east Asia, all within the conext of the assassination of President McKinley.
Mirek
[won on FirstReads]

Totally fascinating book about one of the less known presidents. Gives you wonderfully detailed background of America at the turn of the century; its politics, demographics and culture.

I enjoyed this book very much and would definately recommend it to anyone interested in American history.
Jack
EXCELLENT! An important time. The end of the Gilded Age, the dawn of the 20th century, and the trucking along of the American Industrial Revolution. Add to that a most fascinating murder by a very strange man of a very decent president. The discussion on anarchism is particularly interesting.
Bill Boerst
Highly enjoyable read! This writer tells history's story like a fine novel. I am a student of history but admittedly did not know much about the McKinley assassination. Miller does a fine job of putting this event in the context of the events of its time and how they tie in. Well done!
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There is more than one author with this name

As a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Miller spent nearly two decades in Asia and Europe, reporting from more than twenty-five countries. He covered fields as varied as the Japanese economic collapse, the birth of a single European currency, and competitive speed knitting. His articles have also appeared in the Washington Post and t...more
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