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

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

I took it as my reading sign when Suzanne picked this narrative nonfiction book on WSIRN episode 242, describing it as "gripping." Millard weaves together three strands—politics, medicine, and technology to tell the story of James Garfield, the 20th president of the United States, who only served 200 days because he was shot and eventually died. The world of the late 1800s was just starting to understand germs and antiseptic and washing, but the whole country was lying in absolute agony for months while people were wondering, can we save him? Historic cameo: Alexander Graham Bell, who you'll remember as inventor of the telephone, plays a part as he worked around the clock, desperate to invent a device to find the bullet without injuring the president further.

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