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Garfield

de Allan Peskin

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1473187,396 (3.84)1
The definitive biography of America's 20th president, James A. Garfield. Exhaustively researched and skillfully written. Winner of the Ohio Academy of History Award, the Ohioana Book Award in History, and a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year. "Garfield's military career, the congressional years, the Presidency, receive thorough attention and evaluation, and one of the delights of this massive biography is that Peskin writes so well ... This is a brilliant and skillful portrait of a man of many parts, of the political and social landscape of his time."--Publi… (mais)
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American presidents have received a diverse range of biographical attention that in both quality and quantity usually reflects the length of their term in office and the impact of their presidency. In this respect Allan Peskin's biography of James Abram Garfield stands out as virtually unique: a first-class biography of one of the briefest occupants of the presidency, which offers a thorough understanding of the man based on a comprehensive examination of his life and career.

Born in Ohio, Garfield attained success almost in spite of himself. Drawn to the sea, a period of illness cut short an early career as a canal driver, which led him to more academic pursuits. A member of the Disciples of Christ, he made the most of the educational opportunities they provided, returning after college to teach at the school he attended as a youth. Aided by his gifts as a public speaker, Garfield began a career in politics that was cut short by his decision to serve in the Union Army, where he rose to the rank of major general. While still serving he won election to Congress, where he eventually emerged as the leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Peskin sees Garfield as a capable figure, yet one whose ambition was tempered by a degree of fatalism about the outcome. Thus while serving as John Sherman's floor lieutenant at the 1880 Republican convention, he did nothing to discourage consideration of himself as a "dark-horse" candidate. A narrow election won him the presidency, and he had only just resolved the party struggle over patronage when he was shot by a deranged assassin and suffered a slow descent towards death.

Peskin's book is easily the best biography of Garfield, thanks to its combination of judicious analysis and enjoyable writing. He is blunt in his assessment of Garfield, going past the superficial explanations to provide a convincing cataloging of his strengths and weaknesses. The result is an excellent biography, one of the best ever written about a president and one that likely will stand the test of time for decades to come. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
1488 Garfield: A Biography, by Allan Peskin (read 26 June 1978) This was enjoyable reading, even though it had defects as a biography. It was drawn mainly from original sources, seemingly, and did not seem to give full enough treatment to some things in Garfield's life. But it was nicely chronological, it did not hesitate to speak of its subject's misdeeds, and I found it consistently fun to read--so much so that I neglected other things I should have been doing, such as studying German [I was in a German class in those olden days--not very successfully], working on getting ready to go to Salt Lake City, etc. ( )
  Schmerguls | Jan 13, 2009 |
A fairly comprehensive biography of a man who potentially would have been a fine President. Garfield was a Disciples of Christ preacher who made it to the White House. Throughout his life, he remained faithful to his religious heritage.

The book is well-documented; indexed. ( )
  SCRH | Aug 7, 2006 |
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The definitive biography of America's 20th president, James A. Garfield. Exhaustively researched and skillfully written. Winner of the Ohio Academy of History Award, the Ohioana Book Award in History, and a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of the Year. "Garfield's military career, the congressional years, the Presidency, receive thorough attention and evaluation, and one of the delights of this massive biography is that Peskin writes so well ... This is a brilliant and skillful portrait of a man of many parts, of the political and social landscape of his time."--Publi

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