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Aaron Million
There is not a large collection of James Garfield biographies to choose from, mainly due to lack of interest in our 20th President. As Peskin writes at the end, Garfield quickly faded into the distant memory of public consciousness - eventually being lumped in and confused with several other late 19th century, facial hair-sporting, lackluster presidents. While this does seem to be a somewhat harsh verdict rendered by history, Garfield did not particularly distinguish himself - positively or nega ...more
Jan 09, 2014 rated it really liked it

“Garfield: A Biography” by Allan Peskin was published in 1978 and was the first comprehensive biography of James A. Garfield in four decades. Ironically, this biography was followed shortly by the posthumous publication of Margaret Leech’s own study titled “The Garfield Orbit.” Peskin was a long-time professor of American history at Cleveland State University.

Comprehensive in scope and liberally infused with penetrating character insight, Peskin’s biograph
Mark Roth
Sep 09, 2010 rated it liked it
The book covers the life of James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States. It covers the full span of Garfield's life in equal detail, from his childhood to his assassination.

The author convincingly identifies several common themes of Garfield's personality throughout his life, such as his fatalistic view of his own destiny that prohibited him from actively seeking high public office. He was also someone that was much more comfortable dealing with issues rather than personal politic
Jerry Landry
Peskin’s Garfield was good, but (of course there’s a but) I did notice some spelling and citation errors which detracted from the experience. Also, I felt at times as if Peskin was on a mission to redeem Garfield who, despite having some good points, was overall not really that admirable of a figure. He cheated on his wife and was rather dismissive of her overall. He was a politician through and through in the modern sense of the term. While occasionally claiming to want to do more for his const ...more
Peter Sprunger
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a well written, thorough but never tedious, biography of James Garfield. Peskin takes the time to explain Garfield's upbringing (poor), schooling, career as a teacher, and finally a General under Rosecrans in the Civil War before diving into his political career. This book is well organized and constant in the the amount of description given from birth to death which is more than can be said about some biographies.

Because his district was very Republican, only once did he need to worry
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Peskin has skillfully put the life of a fascinating, but forgotten, President onto the pages of this book. He spares little detail - which at times can make the book dense - but seems to have captured the spirit of Garfield in his writing. A wonderful read for anyone interested in American politics during and shortly after Reconstruction.
Tom Rowe
Oct 12, 2015 rated it liked it
If you want to read about President Garfield, read Candace Millard's Destiny of the Republic. If you hunger for more Garfield, red this book. Or, read this book up to the last chapter, then switch to Millard's book. Millard's book does a better job documenting the assassination, whereas this book better documents the rest of Garfield's life. Or, read them both and see how they differ.

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Shelves: president-bio
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Shelves: presidents, owned
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