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Destiny of the Republic
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President | Candice Millard
James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and a renowned and admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he engaged in a fierce battle with the corrupt political establishment. But four months after his inauguration, a deranged office seeker tracked Garfield down and shot him in the back. But the shot didnt kill Garfield. The drama of what happened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in turmoil. The unhinged assassins half-delivered strike shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter behind-the-scenes struggle for powerover his administration, over the nations future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his condition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, worked around the clock to invent a new device capable of finding the bullet. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic will stand alongside The Devil in the White City and The Professor and the Madman as a classic of narrative history. From the Hardcover edition.
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BkClubCare
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Pickpick

Esther listening to audiobook Destiny of the Republic. I learned a lot about what a great man was President Garfield, how incredibly arrogant and harmful were the “team” of doctors who killed him with their ignorant methods, and how interesting some progressive thoughts may have had their successful impetus because of it all. Fascinating

BkClubCare #LitPie = Peach, book # 67 (edited) 1mo
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BkClubCare
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I am ready? Hoping to finish my first audiobook in months - this heat makes it so difficult to take the dog on long walks (plus the husband keeps inviting himself 😟
#BookSpinBingo #August2022

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MallenNC
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Reading this book, it seems like Garfield would have been a good president if things had turned out differently. Sadly, that was not his destiny.

#PersonVsDestiny #ConflictedWorlds

Eggs Perfect 👌🏼📚👏🏻 13mo
DivineDiana I loved this book! It was a Book Club choice, and from the looks of the cover, I thought this is not for me. I was wrong! 13mo
MallenNC @DivineDiana I loved it too. I read it bc it was on my new year‘s book list one year for the swap @monalyisha does. I think my swap partner that year was @Librarybelle 13mo
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MallenNC @DivineDiana And yes, the cover does not make it seem like an exciting book! 13mo
Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks 📚🙌🏻 13mo
Librarybelle Such a good book, and probably from my list of titles from #NewYearWhoDis 13mo
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StargazerM27
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I've had this book in my library for years before I casually picked it up and started reading. It's a fascinating story that gives a snapshot of the early Gilded Age with political intrigue that rivals our own. I should have read this years ago.

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Ncostell
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Pickpick

I knew very little about James Garfield before picking this up, other than that he had been assassinated. This was a fascinating look at his rise from poverty to President. The author ties in information of the state of medicine at the time which was also interesting (and horrifying) as many physicians‘ disbelief in antisepsis contributed greatly to Garfield‘s demise. It was a surprisingly quick read that I would highly recommend.

Crazeedi I've had this book for forever and still need to read!! 2y
Dostoyes Great review - this was such a great book! 2y
Ncostell @Crazeedi I know, it‘s so hard to get to everything! 2y
Ncostell @Dostoyes Thanks! I really flew through this one. 2y
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OutAndAbout
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Pickpick

Amazing true account of the horrible demise of Garfield after an assassination attempt, caused by inadequate and dangerously ignorant medical care. Incredible how so many doctors knew so little although they were convinced they knew everything. Also includes some information about Alexander G Bell who worked to create a sonar machine to find the bullet. Fascinating history.

Bookwormjillk Love this book 2y
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Nebklvr
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Pickpick

This was a reread for book club. Garfield was an amazing and inspirational man and leader. His medical care was chilling.

Amiable This was a great book! 2y
Nebklvr @Amiable Yes. Such an admirable leader and true scholar 2y
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Butterfinger
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@Bookwormjillk thank you so much. I love the brochures. What a fantastic idea. I love history and I know I will devour this book. I also would like to visit more Presidents' homes. I've only been to Woodrow Wilson's.

@maleahrae thank you for organizing this swap. I mailed mine this past week.

Butterfinger And Mount Vernon. 😊 3y
Scochrane26 I think I‘ve only been to Mt Vernon, but I do recommend going to LBJ‘s Presidential library in Austin. It‘s the only pres library I‘ve been to, hope to see more one day. 3y
Dostoyes Terrific book! Learned so much from it. 3y
Bookwormjillk I‘m glad you liked it! This was a fun swap. 3y
ljuliel 5🌟book. 3y
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Tkgbjenn1
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Pickpick

Did Garfield die by the bullet of an assassin or the poor and unhygienic medical practices of the surgeons of the day? This is a very interesting historical biography of a President I knew little about and an assassination (or assassination attempt) I knew little about as well. An equally interesting look at the deranged mind of a murderer and the filthy medical practices of the day. 5/5 Stars

ljuliel Great review and great book 🌟 3y
Tkgbjenn1 @ljuliel thank you 3y
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Ericalambbrown
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Pickpick

Wow! If you are an American history nerd, read this book! I found myself continually amazed that the story this book tells has not been adapted into a series. The delusional hubris of the assassin is bonkers, the ignorance and arrogance of the doctor is maddening, and now I just really want to find a book on Alexander Graham Bell. There‘s even some political villainy. Seriously. If you like history, give this a go.

Bookwormjillk I really liked this book too 3y
Crazeedi I have had this book on my shelf for quite some time, I really must get to it! Sounds so good!! 3y
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Kerrbearlib
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Monday read.

Amiable I loved this book! 3y
CherylRussell This looks good! 3y
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Librarybelle
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One of the best books I‘ve read. Hands down. President Garfield was assassinated rather early into his presidency. However, Millard argues that the assassin‘s bullet was not the cause of his death. What follows is a riveting, jaw dropping look at medicine and doctor‘s practices of the late 19th century. It‘s so well written and so well informed, a perfect blend of narrative nonfiction and well documented research. #TheCallOfDestiny #SoaringScores

Reviewsbylola Yes!! Loved this book so much! 3y
DebReads4fun Great review! 3y
Chrissyreadit I just saw Assassins and realized I had not learned about Garfield at all. So glad you posted this! 3y
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Librarybelle @Reviewsbylola ❤️❤️❤️ 3y
Librarybelle You‘re welcome, @Chrissyreadit ! 3y
ravenlee I really liked this book, too. 3y
Chrissyreadit And I just bought it thanks to a lovely and timely prize from @Sace 3y
Sace Oooo...this looks like something I would like! 3y
Librarybelle @ravenlee ❤️❤️❤️ 3y
Librarybelle @Sace It‘s so good! 3y
CrowCAH Sounds very intriguing! 3y
ValerieAndBooks I didn‘t like this (and bailed) because early on, the author described AGBell as a gifted teacher for the deaf etc and overlooked the damage he did for deaf education. I know this was really about Garfield but after seeing that she didn‘t do her homework about Bell‘s background, it made me suspicious of her historical analysis in general. Sorry and getting off my soapbox 😬! 3y
Librarybelle @CrowCAH ❤️❤️❤️ 3y
Librarybelle @ValerieAndBooks That would be a disappointment! Thank you for mentioning this. 3y
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TracyReadsBooks
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Pickpick

The title says it all—Millard‘s enthralling account of this little known (unless, I suspect, you are well versed in presidential history) event makes for a fascinating, “how in the world did all the pieces fall into place allowing this to actually happen,” read. Interweaving Garfield‘s rise from abject poverty to the White House with advances in medicine, Alexander Graham Bell & the life of Charles Guiteau, Millard‘s book is great. Recommended.

DreesReads This is such a great book! Narrative nonfiction at its best. 3y
Crazeedi I have had this on my shelf for quite some time! Now I must move it up! 3y
TracyReadsBooks @AudreyMorris Absolutely agree! And I don‘t think you‘ll be disappointed @Crazeedi when it reaches the top of your shelf—such an interesting story and the book is really well-written. 3y
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TracyReadsBooks
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Going with nonfiction for my next book. This one won the Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime & is the story of James A. Garfield & his assassination by Charles Guiteau. Garfield narrowly defeated Winfield Scott Hancock in the 1880 presidential election & took office in March 1881. He was shot in early July & while Garfield survived, he succumbed to his injuries two months later due to an infection caused by dirty, unsterilized instruments.

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Lauram
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Pickpick

Aside from knowing Garfield was born in the Cleveland area, I knew very little about his time as POTUS or his murder. I thought this book was one of the best I‘d read this year (leaving aside my feelings about AG Bell). It‘s astonishing to me that it took so long for germ theory/sterile practices to become recognized in medical practice. Garfield‘s death was gruesome and unnecessary.

Lauram The photo was taken last fall along the canal towpath where Garfield worked when he was young. It‘s one of my favorite walking spots. 3y
Bookwormjillk Where is that? 3y
Lauram @bookwormjillk The Ohio and Erie Canal in the National Park. This photo was taken in the Valley View/Sagamore Hills area. 3y
Bookwormjillk @Lauram cool! We walk in the park a lot when we‘re in town. Didn‘t know about the Garfield connection 3y
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Bookwormjillk
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Pickpick

I listened to the audiobook version of this for the second time today, and still really liked it. James A. Garfield is treated like a footnote to history, but he could have been so much more. The details of his murder and medical care are insane and unimaginable. I highly recommend this book.

Lauram I‘m reading this book right now and really liking it. I‘m from Cleveland and am familiar with so many of the places mentioned in the book. I do think it‘s rather unfortunate that Garfield is buried only a few blocks away from the medical school D. Willard Bliss attended. 3y
Bookwormjillk @Lauram I hear you! I went to Hiram College, and had similar feelings. 3y
Lauram Ha! I‘m shopping in Aurora today. 3y
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Bookwormjillk
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Took a drive to Monticello today. Enjoying the tagged audiobook, and Jefferson‘s love of books.

IamIamIam Gorgeous!!! 3y
brit91 Beautiful😍😍😍😍 3y
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Lauram
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Friday night in the park #Litsywalkers

rather_be_reading gorgeous 😍 3y
JacqMac Beautiful! 3y
JaclynW Lovely. 3y
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erzascarletbookgasm It looks mysterious..love it 👍 3y
mcipher So gorgeous!! ♥️ 3y
Ericalambbrown That picture is amazing! 😍 3y
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howjessicareads
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I just spent *way* too long making collages of the 26 books I read in May! I‘m going to share more details on my 8 favorites, starting w/ nonfiction.

💔 DESTINY OF THE REPUBLIC: A TALE OF MADNESS, MEDICINE, AND THE MURDER OF A PRESIDENT by Candice Millard (5⭐️)

🍎 SAVE ME THE PLUMS by Ruth Reichl (4⭐️)

#howjessreadsin2019

MallenNC I agree on your two favorites! Destiny of the Republic is one of my all time favorite nonfiction books, and I enjoyed Save Me the Plums just recently. 3y
Aswenson Loved Destiny of the Republic! ❤️ 3y
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howjessicareads
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I meant to share this #bfc update on Wednesday! Tucson is having its wettest May since like 1897. (If you‘re curious, that equals 1.5 days of rain. Lol.) So the saguaros are all in bloom! 🌵 I have been walking a lot, plus we‘ve gone swimming a few times. And I just finished book number 2 of my week. 🙂 #bookfitnesschallenge @wanderinglynn

gradcat Nice cactus 🌵! 3y
bewareofwords That‘s awesome! Great job. 🤗 3y
wanderinglynn Great job! 🙌🏻 And love the cactus. 💚🌵 3y
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LapReader What a.wonderful place to walk and swim. Good luck with your challenge. 3y
BookwormAHN Great job 👏🏻 3y
alisiakae Lovely pic! Wet and Tucson aren't two words you usually hear together. 😂 3y
TheSpineView That's fantastic! 3y
Sharpeipup Great going! 3y
Caterina Thanks for sharing the cactus pic and about the rain, that's so interesting! And great job with finishing another book! 👍 3y
Megabooks Awesome!! I loved my visit to Tucson and hiking on Mt. Lemon! 3y
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Christinak
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“His eye was steady, and his face presented the appearance of a #brave man, who is determined upon a desperate deed, and meant to do it calmly and well.”

#QuotsyMar19 #31DaysOfNonFiction

Crazeedi I have this on my bookshelf of tbr!!! Just havent yet!!! 4y
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Bookdragon69
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Pickpick

Great book. History is not my forte and I learned a lot about President Garfields life and assassination. It angers me to know the ignorance and conceit of his doctor was also a cause to his death. It also angers and saddens me to know that political corruption is the same now as it was then, except there is way much more money involved now. Long, long, gone are the days when great men wanted what was best for the nation.

Bookdragon69 @Reviewsbylola I never forgot about the book you recommended. It always intrigues me when a person says they can‘t stop talking about a certain book. I‘m the same way when a book moves me. It was a great book. 4y
Reviewsbylola I STILL think of this book. So good. And I agree, the medical ignorance blew me away. 4y
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MrBook
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A friend sent me some books which I received today ☺️😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻! There's some folks outside of Litsy who get me.

See, told you I'm a non-fiction nerd. 🤓😆

4 books about presidents, 1 about law, 1 about the energy industry, 1 about government structure, 1 about American Old West history, and 1 about cosmology and physics.

Lordy! How many of you would this group of great reads (for me) put to sleep faster than Extra-Strength Zzzquil? 😆☺️

kspenmoll I would like to read the Andrew Jackson book, Unexpected President & 3felonies. 😀#nonfiction. But I do have to read in daytime; cannot always retain what I read before bed!! 4y
BookBabe 🙋🏻‍♀️ 4y
BookishMarginalia I think you underestimate the pull of nonfiction for other Littens! For our part, @WanderingBookaneer and I love nonfiction— I‘m especially partial to presidential histories (they remind me that horrible things have happened before too). 4y
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rabbitprincess Destiny of the Republic is on my to-read list! 4y
MrBook @kspenmoll 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻 4y
MrBook @rabbitprincess 😁👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻🙌🏻 4y
MrBook @BookBabe 😂👏🏻 4y
JSW None for me, but a lot of these look straight up my brother‘s alley. 4y
CouronneDhiver Nope. I‘m into it 👍🏽 4y
bookwrm526 Destiny of the Republic was great 4y
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LibraryCin
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Panpan


I listened to the audio. There wasn‘t as much biography as I was expecting. Much of it was politics, which I‘m not all that interested in, so I tuned out for a good portion of the first ½ to 2/3. What I found much more interesting was the medicine at the time. The suggestion of germs, something no one could see, was new and many doctors didn‘t want to believe it. Cont in comments...

LibraryCin I also found Alexander Graham Bell and his invention, the “induction balance”, quite interesting. This machine he invented was meant to find the bullet that was still lodged into Garfield‘s body. This book has actually made me kind of interested in reading more about Bell 4y
LibraryCin @rabbitprincess thank you! I will take a look! 4y
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ColleenEK
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FashionableObserver
Pickpick

It‘s strange: I actually savored this book. I fell in love with Garfield and didn‘t want his final moment to come. When it did, I was utterly devastated. I sat at my dining room table and cried. He would have been an amazing president. After the death of Lincoln, Garfield was truly our second chance to get things right. What could he have accomplished? What would America be right now, had Guiteau failed or had Bliss, et.al WASHED THEIR HANDS?!

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Reviewsbylola
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My April book stats—15 books read! Definitely a good reading month! I found it funny that all three of my top picks were NF—and although Republic is a little wide in scope to be considered true crime imo, all three books center around murder.

Meredith3 Daaaaaamn I think I've read 15 books this YEAR 👏🏻😹 4y
MallenNC I read Destiny of the Republic this month too and loved it. 4y
ElishaLovesBooks Wow!! Great job! 👏👏All of those books look amazing! Of course I‘m stacking them!!💕😊 4y
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CouronneDhiver Right?! @Meredith3 I think I‘m doing something wrong here. 😉 All these high numbers are awesome. 4y
emilyhaldi Wow I'm shocked by your 🥇!!! I need to get to this soon 4y
Reviewsbylola Have you read any of her other books?? I definitely want to try another one now. @MallenNC 4y
Reviewsbylola Lol I feel like all I do is read and go on Litsy when I‘m not parenting so 🤷🏼‍♀️😂 @CouronneDhiver @Meredith3 4y
Reviewsbylola They were all fantastic! I hope you love them as much as I did. @ElishaLovesBooks 4y
Reviewsbylola Yes you do! I was so pumped to find a copy for you! @emilyhaldi 4y
Cathythoughts Well done 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4y
MallenNC @Reviewsbylola I haven't but I immediately put her other books on my list! I think I might try the one about Winston Churchill next. 4y
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MallenNC
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Pickpick

This book was so good! Poor President Garfield! How tragic that he died and in a way that could have been prevented with modern medical treatment (mostly if the doctors had just washed their hands it would have helped). It seems like he would have been a great president if he had been able to serve his term. The book is well written and the author weaves several storylines together seamlessly. A #FreakyFriday pick that was on my TBR for years.

emilyhaldi I just bought this at a library sale! 👏🏻👏🏻 4y
Librarybelle It‘s one of my favorites...she does such an amazing job presenting the entire situation. 4y
MallenNC @emilyhaldi I hope you love it! I thought it was great. This is my favorite kind of nonfiction. 4y
MallenNC @Librarybelle This may be my favorite that I've read from your list. I've had it for years, so I'm glad I finally got pushed to pick it up. Not sure what took me so long! 4y
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MallenNC
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All the books I'm reading or think I'm about to read sit #OnMyNightstand. Things get out of hand pretty quickly. Especially since this doesn't even include the one on my Kindle. #12daysofbookstagram Day 7.

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Reviewsbylola
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Pickpick

My husband is #tiredoftalking about this book. Pretty sure I kept him up last night with my rambling. But as much as I remember details of Lincoln‘s or Kennedy‘s assasinations, I didn‘t even remember that Garfield was killed. And this read so easily despite all the political talk in the beginning. The second half is where it really won me. Garfield would have easily lived through the shooting had it not been for horrific medical care. #aprella

Bookdragon69 Sounds interesting, going to give it a try. 4y
Reviewsbylola I really loved it and I am super picky about nonfic. @Bookdragon69 4y
emilyhaldi Huh! Well if you liked this NF then I will stack it 👍🏻 4y
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Reviewsbylola I think you‘ll love this. @emilyhaldi It‘s very graphic though, especially towards the end. The way Garfield died was horrific. As the book said, his body was literally rotting. 🤢🤢 Such an unfair ending for a noble, kind man. 4y
Mdargusch Wow. I am stacking too. It‘s not very often you recommend a nonfiction @Reviewsbylola 4y
Reviewsbylola I know! I immediately came in and recommended it to my boss. I loved it. @Mdargusch 4y
Cinfhen Stacking for hubs! 🙌🏻 4y
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Grzebra
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Pickpick

Well I cried my eyes out in this one. Seventy-nine long days of suffering medical malpractice endured with grace, dignity, and good humor. If I‘m ever near the Garfield library I‘ll be sure to visit and I‘ll definitely be reading more of Millard.

LitLogophile I love President Garfield! I used to run past his tomb when I lived in Cleveland, so I did some research on this president that I knew nothing about. He‘s fantastic! I must read. 4y
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mellowgirlblog
Mehso-so

Very interesting book! Handles the subject (the intersecting lives of Bell, Garfield, Garfield‘s assassin, and other important figures of the time) very well. Never felt slow, kept me involved the whole time. Would definitely recommend. Left me feeling like I really knew these historical figures and understood the time period at a new level.

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BooksAtNight
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Pickpick

Definitely an enjoyable read/listen. Millard does a great job distilling Garfield‘s file and weaving the narrative strands. The narration on the audiobook is also quite good. The comparison to The Devil in the White City is actually fairly spot on (for once); this book had the same blend of history and true crime for me.

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Shaunesay
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I'm listening to Destiny of the Republic for a challenge slot of my local library's January reading challenge, a book by an author who lives in Kansas. I have also heard Candice Millard speak at a Literacy KC luncheon, and she was the special guest for the Stay Home and Read A Book Ball fundraiser, doing a Twitter Q&A, so it's neat to now experience some of her work. I knew very little about Garfield, this is interesting and accessible, recommend!

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BakingAndBooks
Pickpick

Thought this book was great but slightly biased. Would def recommend!

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Lori_S
Pickpick

So interesting... and heartbreaking our nation didn't get a chance to live through a full term of his presidency... He sounds like he would've done great things for our country, had he been given the chance.

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anneofgreentables
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Pickpick

Im kind of between a so-so and a pick on this one. It was interesting to read about both Garfield and his assassin, and I started to like Garfield a lot, after all he was a fellow bookworm, and refused to be ruled by party bosses in one of the most corrupt times in American history. But the descriptions of Garfield's infected bullet wounds and wildly incompetent doctor got to me after awhile.

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anneofgreentables
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Garfield's opponent in the election of 1880, Democratic nominee Winfield Scott Hancock.

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Librarybelle
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When people come up to me and say they usually loathe nonfiction history books but devoured this one, you know it's a good read. President Garfield's assassination shook the nation, but did the bullet really kill him? Millard has a theory, and backs it up with so much research, you'll probably agree with her by the end. Perfect narrative nonfiction - hard to believe she's writing about reality. #35bookparty

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Freefallinmissy
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Favorite non fiction.
This is about President James Garfield who I previously knew nothing about, it is truly fascinating what happened to him ! #MOREORLESS

EllieDottie Ah this is on my tbr! 5y
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Freefallinmissy
Pickpick

After reading this I want to read all of Millard's books. Learned so much about a president I knew nothing about. SO INTERESTING!!!

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Aswenson
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I can't say enough about this book! Put it at the top of your TBR pile and you won't be disappointed!

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Aswenson
This post contains spoilers
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You guys... this book! 😥

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DGRachel
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A couple #presidentialreads from my TBR bookshelves. I have a few others on Kindle. #feistyfeb (Note that Robert Strauss's book was published before our current POTUS took office...)

Aswenson I'm reading Destiny of the Republic right now. It's really good! 6y
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Aswenson
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I love me a president who reads like it's going out of style and believes deeply in knowledge and education. #bibliophile

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Aswenson
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I am already completely engrossed in this story. Who knew James Garfield was such an interesting and amazing human being?

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ValerieAndBooks
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Bailedbailed

I stopped reading this one two months ago because I was disappointed by the author's sweeping claims about Alexander Graham Bell's "success" with his deaf students, without any statement about why, when in reality Bell was an eugenicist and pushed through for the abolishment of sign language usage (neither of which is ever mentioned). I couldn't focus on the main story which was Garfield himself. Time to call this a bail.

Betty We Deaf despise Bell and AGBAD. I was in grad school when I sat in the library archives and read an article he wrote about the need to sterilize deaf people. 6y
ValerieAndBooks @Betty not sure if you remember but I am Deaf myself as well. It is so frustrating when people overlook this about Bell and/or choose to ignore what he was really all about 😤😢. 6y
Betty @ValerieAndBooks I had forgotten 😑 6y
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cathysaid I never knew this but am so glad you told us! 6y
ValerieAndBooks @betty that's ok 😊! If I only read books relating to Deafness it'd be more obvious here on Litsy but those books are few and in far between anyway! (edited) 6y
ValerieAndBooks @cathysaid you're welcome! Also for anyone who may have missed my previous posts about this book may be interested in looking at the book's profile-- I showed some problematic quotes there. @Betty 6y
LindsayReads WHOA. Good to know!!! 6y
53 likes7 comments