*Destiny of the Republic*

The author is Candice Millard, the subtitle is A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, and the topic is James Garfield, with good bits on Alexander Graham Bell.  Excerpt:

Garfield realized with a sinking heart that a large portion of his day, every day, would be devoured by office seekers.  His calling hours were 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and he faced about a hundred callers every day.

…Those who waited outside the White House, moreover, did not want simply to apply for a position.  They wanted to make their case directly to Garfield himself.  As the leader of a democratic nation, the president of the United States was expected to see everyone who wanted to see him.

And I had not known this:

To the astonishment of the members of Congress, Bliss [the doctor who cared for Garfield and possibly killed him] confidently presented them with a bill for $25,000 — more than half a million dollars in today’s currency…Congress agreed to pay Bliss $6,500, and not a penny more.



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