Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Book: The Dog by Joseph O'Neill

About a fortnight ago, I finished reading Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard.  It's about the assassination of President James Garfield, who was assassinated in 1881, and died only about six months after being inaugurated.  It was a really interesting and easy-to-read book about a president about whom most people know very little.  It turns out, he wasn't even interested in running for president when he was nominated, but he reluctantly accepted the Republican nomination in 1880.  This was back when the Republicans were the more progressive party, and Garfield was a champion of racial equality and seen as someone who could help heal some of the wounds of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Then, some sociopath named Charles Giteau came to the conclusion that God wanted him to murder Garfield, so he shot Garfield a couple times in July 1881.  Back then, American doctors had not yet accepted the concept of sterilization, so thanks to Garfield's doctors' probing of Garfield's wounds, Garfield developed various infected abscesses that ended up spelling his ultimate demise a couple months after he was shot.  And even Alexander Graham Bell got in on the fun, inventing a metal detector to help determine where the bullet inside Garfield was located -- a predecessor to the x-ray.  Had Garfield been shot 10-20 years later, he probably would have been recovered within a few weeks.  Sadly, even people at the time predicted that Garfield would be largely forgotten, despite his incredible popularity, due to his short time in office.

I have since started reading The Dog by Joseph O'Neill, which is another one recommended to me.  It's a first-person narrative novel about a New York lawyer who randomly runs into a friend from college, who ends up offering the lawyer a job as kind of a trustee for the college friend's extremely wealthy family in Dubai.  So, he moves to Dubai, and oddness ensues.

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