R.W. Ridley's Reviews > Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard
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's review
Oct 04, 2012

it was amazing
Read in October, 2012

I don’t know if I can adequately convey how much I enjoyed this book. This is my first opportunity to read something by Candice Millard, and if her other book, The River of Doubt, is half as good as this one it will still be well worth the read. Destiny of the Republic is one of those rare nonfiction books that reads like a taut, teeth gnashing thriller.

She somehow manages to uncover each event that leads to General Garfield’s assassination and his murderers trial and hanging in painstaking detail without losing the emotion behind the calamity that ended our 2oth President’s life. I found myself feeling a sense of deep regret that Garfield was denied a legacy. He was, by all accounts, a great man.

And, readers will learn more than just about James Garfield. They will learn about the barbaric medical practices of the time that basically killed the President. They will learn how Alexander Graham Bell tried to use his talents to save the wounded President. And, they will learn how much our political system has changed since Garfield’s time, and perhaps not for the better.
This book is an absolute must read.

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