Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Mallard

Genre:   Biography
Subject: Assassination, medical advancements, inventions
Setting:  Washington, D.C.
Main Characters:  James Garfield, Charles Gaiteau, Dr. Bliss
Series:  no
Dates Read:  October 1 - October 9
Number of pages: 432
Off the Shelf (pre-2012)? Source?:  no, audio MCL
Category for 12 in 12 challenge: History Class

James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States was unique in that he was the only preacher to have held this office. Unfortunately, he was shot in the back by an insane office seeker and though  he could have survived these wounds in modern day, the level of medical care that he received at the time was the cause of his eventual death.

What was amazing about the man was that he never sought nor wanted to be President.  Rival political factions (0ne for Grant and one for Sen. Blaine of Maine) were fighting for the Republican nomination and when they wouldn't given in, Garfield was the alternative candidate selected.

After Garfield was shot, several notable people were involved with his care - one the first licensed black doctor in the District of Columbia as well as Alexander Graham Bell who invented a metal detector for the specific reason to try to locate the bullet that was still in the President.

Comparison of the advancements that Bell was working toward and the antiquated medical treatment provided were both shocking and sickening.  It is truly disappointed that a man of Garfield's character and demeanor was shot down before he was permitted to help those that would have benefited from his policies.

What his death did accomplish, however, was a reunification of the citizens throughout the United States.

This book was powerful in its storytelling as well as its story.

No comments: