Prior to reading this book I’m not sure that I could have named James Garfield as one our presidents. But after reading Candice Millard’s book I am genuinely saddened by the fact the Mr Garfield’s presidency was cut short as he was a true man of character. Although it rarely serves to ponder the question what might have been, it does make me wonder how the course of history might have been altered had he been able to show his moral strength in a time when the country was healing from wounds inflicted by the Civil War. He did not seek his party’s nomination, but once elected he did seek to take on the corrupt political establishment. While many may be aware of the fact that he was one of four presidents to be assassinated, the story behind the assassination and the attempts to save him is fascinating. Ms Millard provides a well-researched, well-articulated, well-written look into an important time in our history.

 On a more personal note, I loved an excerpt taken from a letter he wrote to his wife. Although he wasn’t perfect in his relationship I was touched by the sincerity of these words. “I here record the most deliberate conviction of my soul. Were every tie that binds me to the men and women of the world severed, and I free to choose out of all the world the sharer of my heart and home and life, I would fly to you and ask you to be mine as you are.”