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The Fatal Bullet: The Assassination of President James A. Garfield (A Treasury of Victorian Murder) Paperback – April 1, 1999
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Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Guiteau was basically a loser in life and had even served time in jail. He was constantly skipping out on creditors and and he showed signs of mental illness. He was dillusional and thought that Garfield would apppoint him to an ambassadorship. He literally stalked both Garfield and Secretary of State Blaine in an attempt to secure the appointment. When it was not forthcoming, he stalked Garfield (this was in the days before the secret service) until he had the opportunity to shoot the President.
The wound caused a rupture in an artery but an aneurism sealed off the opening so he did not bleed to death. Garfield lingered for many weeks until the aneurism ultimately ruptured and Garfield died. The location of the bullet had not been located and the aneurism had gone untreated. Today, Garfield's condition would have almost certainly been diagnosed through an MRI and he may have survived delicate surgery which would have saved his life.
In reading history, we generally get a line or two about Garfield being assasinated by a "disappointed office seeker." It was enjoyable to learn more about this event, particularly in such an unusual literary format.
Geary's wonderfully cartoony art is reminiscent of claymation; it gives a true illusion of depth and form. He is truly one of the underrated geniuses of the Comic art form. His meticulous research gives us many interesting facts, such as The President being allowed to walk around Washington D.C. unescorted (No Secret Service yet), Abraham Lincoln's son's association with Garfield, and too many others to count. Do yourself a favor- read the book!!
The assassination took place just 16 years after Lincoln's death in Ford's Theatre and the details in Garfield's case pointed to the same mistakes that allowed Lincoln to be assassinated. Garfield had no escort, he walked about Washington D.C. by himself, unguarded. Guiteau followed him on a couple of occasions! On the fateful day, Garfield was taking the train for his holidays, walked through the waiting room with one of his ministers and his two sons, allowing Guiteau free access to stand up from one of the waiting room seats and shoot him as he passed! Amazingly it would take a third Presidential assassination - that of William McKinley in 1901 - for Congress to give the President an official guard, the Secret Service.
Geary tells the story in a strange way by comparing the lives of Garfield and Guiteau. Showing where one had a strong will to study and for hard work, and the other didn't, how people (in his eyes) are made either great or not. The story here isn't as compelling as Geary's other book on Lincoln's assassination with the background being less desperate and the assassin Guiteau acting alone on his own bizarre ideas. He was a deeply religious man who believed the "Deity" had told him to kill Garfield and somehow believed this act would lead to a consulship in Paris. Strangely, it didn't.
The other interesting point is the lack of medical knowledge at this time.Read more ›
To summarize: the nation, which in recent times had dealt with the horrors of President Lincoln's assassination was once again shaken to its core the summer of 1881. On Saturday, July 2 in the near empty waiting room of a train depot, the twentieth U.S. President, Republican James Abraham Garfield was shot in the back. It would take a grueling two months before the President would succumb to his injury.
The assassin, one Charles Guiteau was quickly apprehended. He announced that he bore no ill-will toward the President but that his death was a "political necessity." During his trial Guiteau defended himself proclaiming to be an agent of deity. He would go on to state that the President's physicians should bear the burden of his death. He reasoned this because of the fact that they had decided the wound the President had suffered was not, in fact fatal and that he would soon recover. Guiteau was convicted of the assassination by a jury and was executed by hanging on June 30, 1882.
What sets Geary's book apart from other historical works is that it was written in a graphic novel. With illustration reminiscent of a comic book, Geary's book sets out to explore the Garfield assassination as well as to take a closer look at the events leading up to this significant point in the two men's lives.
Geary examines certain similarities in both lives. Some of these included are in regards to their home regions, the fact that both were the youngest in their family, both considered clergy as a career and that both were drawn to the law and politics.
Robert Frost wrote of two roads that diverged in the wood.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I think that all of Rick Geary graphic novels should be required reading at all
freshman classes nationwide. Read more
This book was interesting to read, and I learned about the history of Garfield, as well as that of his killer. Read morePublished on January 4, 2011 by Debra Wilson
Admittedly, not everyone will be drawn to a "comic book" version of the events surrounding the assassination of President Garfield. Read morePublished on July 21, 2010 by Thomas Quale