Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Prior to reading Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, James Garfield was just a name on the list of Presidents. A man born in poverty he became a educator, father, lawyer, Civil War General, Congressman and President.
Although he only served a few brief months, his death helped change medical world as we know it. It is often said necessity is the mother of invention. Alexander Graham Bell's early versions of metal detectors was an effort to help find the bullet lodged in President Garfield. Dr Lister's antiseptic surgery finally gained respect and acceptance after the autopsy on the President. It showed the massive infection that finally killed him came from his doctors inserting unsterilized fingers and instruments into the wound.
A proponent of black suffrage President Garfield appealed to southerners with the belief that the way to repair the south was through education and supporting southern commercial and industrial interests. Following the assassination attempt and the agonizing months until his death allowed the country to connect in a way it hadn't found in decades. President Garfield's brief presidency helped finally unite the country.
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