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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, if different entry in this series., February 26, 2011
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This review is from: James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series: The 20th President, 1881 (American Presidents (Times)) (Hardcover)
As many have pointed out, this entry in the series is somewhat different because it was written by a doctor, and as such, focuses a good deal on the medical issues that led to President Garfield's death. I really enjoyed this somewhat different take on a president. To be sure, the introductory material dealing with President Garfield's youth and pre-presidential days was fairly standard and informative. He was an amazing character who came from humble beginnings to be a very well-read and eloquent politician. Most people probably don't realize that he was one of those presidents like Hoover who was seen as sort of a genius or star figure that held a lot of potential. Unfortunately, he had one of the shortest tenures as president because of the assassination attempt that happened so early in his tenure. The event and its results are well-detailed in this book. As it turns out, the President suffered what today would have been a non-fatal shot. Due to the relative lack of acceptance of medical advances at the time, a string of unfortunate treatments and procedures took place that led to infection and a prolonged painful and unfortunate decline towards death for President Garfield. The coverage of all of this, while sad, is also interesting. An additional side topic that gets briefly mentioned is the difference of opinion between Garfield and Vice President Arthur who was not well thought of but gained some respect in his own right after becoming president after the death of Garfield. All in all, this is one of the more informative entries to the American President Series and a good summary of a very interesting but mostly-forgotten president.
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