President Garfield: From Radical to Unifier
From the publisher:
In this magisterial biography, C.W. Goodyear charts the life and times of one of the most remarkable Americans ever to win the presidency. Progressive firebrand and conservative compromiser; Union war hero and founder of the first Department of Education; Supreme Court attorney and abolitionist preacher; mathematician and canalman; crooked election-fixer and clean-government champion; Congressional chieftain and gentleman-farmer; the last president to be born in a log cabin; the second to be assassinated. James Abram Garfield [Class of 1856] was all these things and more.
Over nearly two decades in Congress during a polarized era—Reconstruction and the Gilded Age—Garfield served as a peacemaker in a Republican Party and an America defined by divisions. He was elected President to overcome them. He was killed while trying to do so.
President Garfield is American history at its finest. It is about an impoverished boy working his way from the frontier to the presidency; a progressive statesman trying to raise a more righteous, peaceful Republic out of the ashes of civil war; the tragically imperfect course of that reformation, and the man himself; a martyr-president, whose death succeeded in nudging the country back to cleaner, calmer politics.