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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Destiny of the Republic" by Candice Millard

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Destiny of the Republic" by Candice Millard

  1. **Candice Millard discusses the political climate and challenges of the United States during the late 19th century. How did the political landscape contribute to James Garfield's rise to the presidency, and what issues were prevalent at the time?

  2. **Charles J. Guiteau's motivations and actions play a central role in the narrative. How does Millard portray Guiteau, and what factors contributed to his decision to assassinate President Garfield?

  3. **Explore the medical practices and challenges faced by President Garfield after being shot. How did the medical community's limited understanding of infection and the lack of sterile procedures impact Garfield's prognosis?

  4. **The book provides insight into the medical advancements of the time, particularly through the character of Dr. Joseph Lister. How did Lister's work on antiseptic practices revolutionize medicine, and what impact did it have on Garfield's case?

  5. **Discuss the theme of destiny as presented in the book's title. In what ways do the lives of James Garfield, Charles Guiteau, and others intersect, and how does destiny shape their fates?

  6. **Candice Millard also explores the impact of Alexander Graham Bell's invention, the telephone, in the story. How did the telephone play a crucial role in the events surrounding Garfield's assassination and medical care?

  7. **The book addresses the political and social implications of Garfield's death. How did his assassination impact the nation, and what changes in security and public perception resulted from this tragic event?

  8. **Examine the character of Lucretia Garfield, the president's wife. How does Millard portray her strength and resilience in the face of personal tragedy, and how did she contribute to Garfield's legacy?

  9. **Discuss the broader historical context of the Gilded Age and its impact on American society. How did economic, social, and technological changes shape the nation during this period?

  10. **The book highlights the challenges faced by the medical profession during the late 19th century. How did the events surrounding President Garfield's medical care contribute to advancements in medical practices and the recognition of infection control?

  11. **Reflect on the historical significance of James Garfield's presidency. In what ways did his brief term in office contribute to the nation, and how might history have unfolded differently if he had not been assassinated?

  12. **Consider the role of destiny in individual lives and historical events. How do the interconnected stories in "Destiny of the Republic" prompt reflection on the unpredictable nature of fate?

Early Life and Education:

  • Candice Millard was born in 1968 in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
  • She attended Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English.

Journalistic Career:

  • Millard has had a successful career in journalism, contributing to various publications. She served as an editor and writer for National Geographic Magazine.
  • Her journalistic work often focuses on historical events and figures, combining meticulous research with a compelling narrative style.

Literary Career:

  • Candice Millard gained widespread acclaim with her debut book, "The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey," published in 2005. The book explores Theodore Roosevelt's challenging exploration of the Amazon River.
  • Her second book, "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President" (2011), delves into the life and assassination of President James A. Garfield.
  • Millard continued her success with "Hero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill" (2016), which chronicles a young Winston Churchill's experiences during the Boer War.
  • Her works are characterized by a narrative approach that brings historical events to life and makes them accessible to a broad audience.

Legacy and Recognition:

  • Candice Millard's books have received critical acclaim for their historical depth, engaging storytelling, and the ability to shed light on lesser-known aspects of well-known figures' lives.
  • Her works have been bestsellers, and she is regarded as a skilled storyteller in the genre of narrative nonfiction.

Personal Life:

  • Information about Candice Millard's personal life, beyond her professional achievements, is not extensively available in public sources.

Candice Millard's contributions to the genre of narrative nonfiction have been well-received, and her ability to craft compelling stories from historical events has garnered her a significant readership. Readers and critics alike appreciate her talent for combining thorough research with an engaging narrative style.


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