The year is 1880 and James Garfield is merely weeks into his new office of President of the United States. As he prepares to board a train, a man approaches him (this is before the days of the Secret Service) and shoots him with a revolver. What follows is months of rudimentary doctoring, as well as agony for the patient and the nation, alike.
The Destiny of the Republic is such a fascinating work of history. It is not only President Garfield’s story (which is interesting in it’s own right), but a glimpse into a past that has been largely forgotten. I appreciated Millard’s providing of important information regarding the political scene of the day, the state of medicine in the United States, and the mood of the public in the wake of a Presidential assassination. It makes for a much more complete accounting of this event and is also provides the reader with an engrossing story.
Thanks to Doubleday for sending me an advance review copy of The Destiny of the Republic. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves history or is interested in a gripping real-life narrative.
4 1/2 stars
Published in 2011