Author Candice Millard was working on a book about Alexander Graham Bell when she found a fascinating connection between Bell and President James Garfield. Garfield, as you know, was shot soon after his inauguration and died in office. What you may not have known was how Garfield suffered in the weeks after being shot and how his medical treatment may have contributed to his demise.
Destiny of the Republic : a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of a president by Candice Millard is a very good book about the little known president. Each chapter begins with a quotation from Garfield, which gives a glimpse of his erudition. One can't help but wonder what Garfield's presidential legacy might have been had not a deranged crackpot assassinated him.
Alexander Graham Bell tried valiantly to perfect a device to help the physicians find the bullet lodged in Garfield's torso, but fate and egos intervened. Much attention is paid to the relationship between James Garfield and his wife, Lucretia. Their unlikely courtship and early rocky marriage blossomed into an enduring love story.
Then Vice President Chester Arthur, the epitome of a machine politician, came into his own as a result of the Garfield assassination. The story of how and who changed his life is fascinating, improbable and inspiring.
This is Millard's second book. She is a gifted writer whose style vivifies history and historical personages. I hope her writing career is long, with many more books to her credit.
--Julie C., Headquarters