Destiny of the Republic

Destiny of the Republic

A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of A President

Large Print - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:
A New York Times Bestseller -- A scholar, a war hero, and renowned reformist, James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Then, after four months in office, he was shot in the back by a deranged office seeker. The shot didn't kill him, and the ensuing drama is a powerful story of a nation in turmoil as the wounded president became the object of a behind-the-scenes struggle for power -- over his administration, the nation's future, and his medical care.
Publisher: Thorndike, Me. : Thorndike Press, 2012.
Edition: Large print ed.
ISBN: 9781410446251
Branch Call Number: Large Print 973.84092
Characteristics: 625 p. ; 23 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 11, 2018

Due to the briefness of his time in office, James Garfield is often left off presidential ranking lists by historians. Candice Millard vividly brings him to life in this book that focuses on the assassination and his ultimate death, but also gives context to his background. The humble beginnings, Civil War service, and time in Congress are explored, and his personality, intelligence, and willingness to stand up to the boss system of politics on principle suggest that he had the makings of a good president, if not a great one. By contrast, the sheer megalomania and narcissistic character of his assassin, Charles Guiteau, is also examined, and here we have a deluded bill dodging lunatic convinced of his own glory. The strong differences between both men are capably demonstrated throughout the narrative, and the author also vividly depicts the sheer incompetence of medicine that ultimately ended Garfield's life. A thoroughly compelling book that sheds much needed light on a leader who deserves it.

SnoIsleLib_MaryM Aug 13, 2018

Candice Millard provides a wonderful narrative, revealing insights and details about Garfield's short stint as a reluctant U.S. President. She brings the historical time period into an interesting light, and tells a page-turner of a story. Her research is in-depth, and her story-telling ability draws the reader in.

May 18, 2018

Book tells of the life and death of President James A. Garfield, the political culture and medical practices of his time, key characters in politics and science as well as the delusional fellow who took Garfield’s life.

Because his time in office was so short, Garfield seems mostly below the radar when learning of presidents. He seemed a remarkable man. Medical practices unveiled were despicable. Assassin’s story almost comic relief. Author did a good job tying pieces together, but still left something lacking for me.

Dec 04, 2017

very readable examination of a little known (to me) US president, the political theatre of the day, the state of medical practice especially surgery at the time, a brief overview of legal system especially the use of the " insanity defense", the work of Alexander Graham Bell in electronics. good bibliography.

Sep 20, 2017

I highly recommend the audiobook (see my review there).

Jun 28, 2017

A fascinating story about a time of invention and ignorance (much like our own). I got the sense that Garfield was his generations' Kennedy both in life and in death. Great read.

LPL_KateG Dec 02, 2016

I went into this book (chosen for a book club) less than enthusiastically. A biography about a guy who was president for only a short time - and never even wanted to be in the first place? Not my typical choice. BUT! I ended up loving this book and Candice Millard's portrayal of this surprisingly important figure. Garfield was an inspiring man, a politician filled with grace, humility, and wisdom. Millard did a wonderful job with this biography - I especially enjoyed the audiobook!

MariePat Oct 19, 2016

About the life of US President James A. Garfield.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 03, 2016

James A. Garfield: the man who had no aspiration for becoming President, was nominated against his will, fought his party's nomination, and did no campaigning whatsoever. James A. Garfield: 20th President of the United States.
The Destiny of the Republic is a well researched and exceptionally told story.

Vincent T Lombardo Apr 17, 2016

Millard is a terrific writer. This is history as it should be written: vivid, riveting, informative, and entertaining. It reads more like a thriller than a work of history, hence the reason it won an Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. Simply excellent!

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at SLPL

To Top