Best Books About James A. Garfield
Note: This page is still under construction. All links underlined in blue work as stated. Links in Black link to Amazon page with titles to multiple books on this President
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard
James Abram Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a reluctant presidential candidate who took on the nation’s corrupt political establishment. But four months after Garfield’s inauguration in 1881, he was shot in the back by a deranged office-seeker named Charles Guiteau. Garfield survived the attack, but become the object of bitter, behind-the-scenes struggles for power—over his administration, over the nation’s future, and, hauntingly, over his medical care. Meticulously researched, epic in scope, and pulsating with an intimate human focus and high-velocity narrative drive, The Destiny of the Republic brings alive a forgotten chapter of U.S. history.
This biography evaluates and examines James A. Garfield’s military career, the congressional years and the Presidency. Allan Perkins has had access to the Garfield and other papers, as well as drawing upon other resources of the Reconstruction Era.
Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A Garfield by Kenneth Ackerman
In post–Civil War America, politics was a brutal sport played with blunt rules. Yet James Garfield’s 1881 “dark horse” campaign after the longest-ever Republican nominating process (36 convention ballots), his victory in the closest-ever popular vote for president (by only 7,018 votes out of over 9 million cast), his struggle against feuding factions once elected, and the public’s response to its culmination in violence, sets a revealing comparison with America approaching a new campaign year in 2004. Author and Capitol Hill veteran Kenneth D. Ackerman re-creates an American political landscape where fierce battles for power unfolded against a chivalrous code of honor in a nation struggling under the shadow of a recent war to confront its modernity. The murder prompted leaders to recoil at their own excesses and changed the tone of politics for generations to come. Garfield’s own struggle against powerful forces is a compelling human drama; the portrait of Americans coming together after his assassination exemplifies the dignity and grace that have long held the nation together in crisis.
James A. Garfield was one of the Republican Party’s leading lights in the years following the Civil War. Born in a log cabin, he rose to become a college president, Union Army general, and congressman–all by the age of thirty-two. Embodying the strive-and-succeed spirit that captured the imagination of Americans in his time, he was elected president in 1880. It is no surprise that one of his biographers was Horatio Alger.
This is the first single volume to focus on the presidencies of both James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur. Drawing from a host of studies on the foreign and domestic policies of the nation during the Gilded Age, as well as from his own primary research, the author presents a somewhat revisionist look at Garfield and Arthur—revisionist in that he gives the reader a renewed appreciation of both men. Far from being cynical spoilsmen or naive incompetents, individuals whose presidencies provide studies in ineptitude, Garfield and Arthur emerge as men of considerable ability. While making no claims of greatness, Doenecke maintains that each was a significant transitional figure, playing a crucial role as the institution of the presidency moved from the weak leadership of Andrew Johnson to the forceful direction of Theodore Roosevelt.
Crete and James is a collection of letters exchanged by James A. Garfield and Lucretia Randolph Garfield during the mid-nineteenth century. Of the 1,200 or so letters written, the 300 included this work chronicle their courtship and marriage, and also discuss the Civil War, political affairs, and the details of daily life during the years 1853-1881. In them, we watch Crete grow from a shy girl into a self-confident woman who guides her husband in social and political matters. Through James’s flamboyant yet scholarly style, and Lucretia’s detailed, perceptive insights, we come to know them as though they were our close friends. Through their correspondence, the reader also meets the many people involved in their lives. Crete and Jameswill be of great interest to those studying women’s history.
If you’ve ever used the phrase “rags to riches,” you owe that to Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832-1899), who popularized the idea through his fictional writings that also served as a theme for the way America viewed itself as a country. Alger’s works about poor boys rising to better living conditions through hard work, determination, courage, honesty, and morals was popular with both adults and younger readers.
Although his presidency lasted only 200 days, Garfield’s full public life intersected much of American history―from the Ohio state legislature, to Civil War battlefields, to the halls of Congress, to the White House. In recent years, as historians have come to place greater importance on the Gilded Age, acknowledging that this age of transformation was more complex, diverse, and significant than previous stereotypes allowed, Garfield has also increased in importance. Although he was shot 120 days after his inauguration, Garfield was one of the most politically experienced presidents in decades, and his life provides a valuable perspective on a pivotal time of transition. This bibliography provides a useful guide to the Garfield literature.
James A. Garfield is usually cast aside as a “minor” president from the late nineteenth century, one of the cold, bearded, and old statues that fill parks across the country. However, Garfield stood out among his peers as a consummate politician who was also able to live out his faith in a very corrupt political landscape. When his life was shortened by the assassin’s bullet, the nation was more upset than when Lincoln died, and shortly after, almost every home in the country had some memorial to the twentieth president. Garfield’s involvement with the Restoration Movement defined who he was, and long before he was widely known on the political stage, he was known and considered to be one of the leaders in this independent and fast-growing church group. This biography ties together Garfield’s politics and religion to show how he really let his light shine in the world.
When the United States was divided by war, future president James Abram Garfield was one of many who stepped forward to defend the Union. While his presidency was tragically cut short by his assassination, Garfield’s historic life covered some of the most consequential years of American history. From humble beginnings in Ohio, he rose to become a major general in the Union army. Garfield’s military career took him to the backwoods of Kentucky, the fields of Shiloh and Chickamauga and ultimately to the halls of Congress. His service during the war helped to save the Union he would go on to lead as president. Join historian Daniel J. Vermilya to discover the little-known story of James Garfield’s role in the Civil War.
Murder of James A Garfield: The President’s Last Days and the Trial and Execution of his Assassin by Clark, James C
The Fatal Bullet: The True Account of the Assassination, Lingering, Pain, Death, and Burial of James A. Garfield by Rick Geary
Geary explores the first assassination of one of our presidents in the hands of an obsessive-compulsive stalker.
The Life and Public Services of James A. Garfield Twentieth President of the United States by Emma Elizabeth Brown
Young James A. Garfield’s attempts to escape the poverty and alienation of his background form the framework of this account of his early life. The society of Ohio’s Western Reserve at the start of industrialization is vividly recreated.