Elizabeth'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
Dec 27, 2011

it was amazing

James Garfield has always been one of those presidents whose names are barely remembered. This book takes him out of obscurity and explains a great deal about the period. He was assassinated only a few months after his inauguration by a complete madman (really). He was part of a period rife with favoritism. The country was still divided after the Civil War (it's 1880). Yet the world is ready for change--the book opens with the Exhibition of 1876 where Alexander Graham Bell (who figures prominently in this book) shows the telephone for the first time.
New York, it seems, has always been corrupt.
Garfield is shown as a thoughtful politician (Senator, General), man, thinker, American. He deserves to be remembered and this book brings him to life.

Garfield's doctor's name was Doctor Doctor Bliss his parents named him Doctor).
Robert Todd Lincoln was there--he was also at the assassination of McKinley. I imagine presidents started avoiding him after that.
There is a certain comfort in knowing that whatever we are going through in 2011, it was worse in 1880 and somehow we survived. We should, however, pay attention.

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