Friday, June 10, 2011


by Allan Peskin

(insert obligatory comic strip comment here)
This 1978 biography of James A. Garfield was pretty good. It not only covered the events of his life but also related it to the events that were happening in the country around him. (Which is good because my whole rationale for reading through presidential biographies is to get a better handle on American history.) In fact, I found that if anything was lacking in this biography, it was coverage of Garfield's family life.

As far as the subject of the book goes, I found Garfield himself to be somewhat unimpressive. In the beginning, as I read about his early life and religious upbringing--he came across as far more religious than his predecessors--I thought I might like him better than the other presidents. But as he traded his pulpit and classroom for a political stump and then a regiment I found him to be, ah, uninspiring. Despite the era, his life lacked the drama of Lincoln or Grant. Nor did he have the personality of Johnson or Hayes. What I did appreciate, however, was how Garfield played his part in the events of his day. This biography was especially useful in showing how the liberal party of the abolitionists started to become the conservative party of big business. All in all, like I said, it was a pretty good book.

Check it out.
LibraryThing link

Labels: ,

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]