Destinyof the Republic by Candice Millard Book Review

Destinyof the Republic a tale of madness, medicine and the murder of thepresident is a Ney York best-sell by Candice Millard giving anaccount of James Garfield’s rise from a poor background to be theAmerican president. This is followed by a dramatic tell of thepresident’s legacy and assassination. President Garfield was one ofthe ‘Ohio Seven’ presidents from the Buckeye State servingbetween 1869 and 1923. This essay is a book review of Destiny of theRepublic, pointing at the main points put forth in the novel,reviewing historical sources of the author, and highlighting why thisnovel is important.

Destinyof the Republic

Millardin her book Destiny of the Republican brings poor Garfield back tolife, showcasing the remarkable life it was. He is among the verylast be born in a long cabin. James had lost his father as a toddlerof one year on the other hand, the poor mother struggled to make aliving for James and other siblings. James mother donated some oftheir farm land so that a school would be established, from whereJames is taught to consider himself equal to any man and to walk withhis shoulders squared and his head thrown back.

Millardrelives history as she builds to the assassination of Garfield, shetells of the intra-part struggles among the Republicans that wouldlater amount to the surprised nomination of Garfield in 1880. Thebook also revisits the Stalwarts, the worshippers of Grant thosethat defended the notorious spoils system, talks of the reformers oftook direction from Senator Shaman J., and Senator Blain G, J. Theauthor also touches on the scheming and delusional Charles J. G., afailed author, a lawyer, and an evangelist who would listen to no oneperhaps only listening to the ideas running in his mind of what animportant political player in Garfield’s election thus, he deservedthe consulship to Paris.

Millardguides the reader towards the eventual assassination of Garfield,that is, after repeated rejections Charles J. Guiteau determinesthat only the removal of the president would pave way for his rewardfrom the grateful Vice President who was then Chester A. Arthur. Inthe nearly three months Garfield lay dying, Alexander Graham Belltried to balance his induction balance, which was a metal detectorpurposed to locate a bullet lodged in the president’s back. At thesame time, the president’s medical team fails to observe theBritish surgeons method of antisepsis, with the American medical teamreferring to the ideology of invisible germs as ridiculous almostkilling the president.

Thenovel establishes the character of Garfield as a political figure whohad worked hard to get to where he was. Garfield had excelled incombat and as a top staff officer rising to rank of major generalduring the civil war. In addition, Garfield fought for back rightsand liberty, as he is quoted writing ‘slavery is damned’. Aspolitical figure in Congress, he loved talking, in fact he would talkfor more than 40 plus time in a single day of Congress, and thismight have been a contributing factor to his nomination as theRepublican nominee in 1880 getting directly to the White House. Byrevealing these events, it is important to the author as she istrying to build the image of Garfield as a hard working man who rosefrom poverty to being the president of the United States.

Millardbrings forth an exciting tale of physicians’ errors contextualizedby politics. When Garfield is shot, physicians want to remove thebullet, but they had difficulties considering this were the pre x-raytimes. As if to make matters worse as argued by the author, thephysicians used unsanitary equipments ignoring the new discoveries inantiseptic surgery. As if to reflect on the evolution of technology,a metal detector instrument is quickly designed to be used inlocating the bullet in the presidents back. However, despite all thisefforts, the president dies apparently because the metal detectingdevice was only applicable to the right body side of the presidentwhile the bullet was lodged in the left. As such, the author revealsapparently, far from trying to prevent the president’s death, thedoctors did actually cause it.

Thenovel reveals important events in history today, majority of us todaythink that President Garfield was shot and killed waiting to board atrain by an assassin. Yes he was shot fell to the fall and a bulletlodged in his lower back leading to his death. Thanks to thethrilling tale by Millard in her novel Destiny of the Republic, wecan now tell the president dies in his doctor’s care over twomonths later after he had been shot.


Destinyof the Republic is a novel that would interest not just lovers ofhistory and thrillers, but also students, politicians, scholars, andother different people from all walks of life. This is mainly becausethe book not only gives the nation’s history but it also does so ina style that without a doubt keeps the reader on the edge of theirseats despite the outcome of the story being well known.

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