“If wrinkles must be written upon our brows, let them not be written upon the heart. The spirit should not grow old.” James Garfield
James Garfield marks our 20th president of the week. You’d think writing these presidential recaps would get easier. However, this week’s was rough. All I really want to do is tell you to go read THIS book! Right this second! Goodness, it’s amazing. It’s the most captivating book I’ve read all year. And I don’t know a better way to capture the character of President Garfield.
Candice Millard’s Destiny of the Republic is the most fascinating sketch on a president I’ve ever read. It makes me want to go tell the entire world about President James Garfield! That most Americans have hardly heard of him is a crime. Though he had the second shortest tenure in presidential history (William Harrison, at 31 days, was the first), his story should be mentioned in every history book from sea to shining sea.
Of course, all our presidents are fascinating in their own way. But James Garfield is extra intriguing to me for several reasons. The life he lived alone is worth learning about. Add in the extra dimension of how he even became president in the first place and you’ve got a page turner right there. But it doesn’t stop there.
His assassination was tragic, yes, but the real tragedy came after the assassin’s bullet struck him. Had he been an average soldier wounded in battle, many historians believe he would have lived. Unfortunately, James Garfield was no ordinary man. As the most powerful man in the country, his story took a different and tragic turn.