Monday, December 21, 2015

New Book: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard

A couple weeks ago, I finished reading No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels by Jay Dobyns and Nils Johnson-Shelton.  It is a memoir recounting ATF special agent Dobyns's undercover work infiltrating the Arizona Hells Angels for several years.  Overall, it was really interesting, as Dobyns tried to balance his hardcore undercover alter-ego "Bird" with his family life as a husband and father of two.  Things got pretty crazy, and the whole time I was thinking "how can this guy stay in character the whole time?"  But I guess that's the difference between a good undercover agent and a dead undercover agent.  In the end, it was a little unfulfilling, not through any fault of Dobyns's, but because of how the ATF investigation and subsequent criminal prosecutions turned out.

Since then, I have started Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.  This is another one that came highly recommended by a few people.  It's about the assassination of President James Garfield -- a president that most people (including me) probably know very little about, aside from the fact that he was assassinated and died only about six months after being inaugurated.  But it's also about the sociopath who murdered Garfield, the prevailing medical treatments of the day (which contributed to Garfield's death), and Alexander Graham Bell's attempts to help the president.  So far so good.

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