I have a confession to make. This may be the first book I have finished this year. I've started several, but this is the first one that's held my interest long enough to make me want to finish it.
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, an the Murder of a President by Candice Millard is a riveting account of the assassination of the United States' 20th president, James A. Garfield. Millard uses primary sources including letters, newspaper articles, and medical records to reconstruct what happened that fateful summer of 1881. She uses an engaging narrative style that makes the history come alive as she describes Garfield's early life as well as the life of is assassin Charles Guiteau and leads the reader along the path as Garfield served in the civil war, rising to the rank of general and then came out of nowhere to win the Republican nomination in 1880. Interwoven through the story of the assassination are vivid descriptions of the politics and politicians of the time and curiously, the story of Alexander Graham Bell, who's obsession with invention and innovation led him to try to create a device that might have saved President Garfield's life.
I listened to the audio book, narrated by Paul Michael. Michael has an excellent voice and the narration is excellent, although I found some of the "voices" he used for the various characters distracting, the overall presentation of the materials was good.