Ambushed!: The Assassination Plot Against President Garfield

Calkins Creek. (Medical Fiascoes). Oct. 2021. 240p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781684378142.
Gr 4-9–Jarrow continues her “Medical Fiascoes” series with a compelling account of the life and death of James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States. Clearly presenting the figures of Garfield and Charles Guiteau, Jarrow’s analysis of the lead up to the assassination and its aftermath is a mesmerizing read. Readers, who most likely already know the outcome of the July 2, 1881 shooting, will be rooting for Garfield’s survival along with the nation as it receives daily updates from the president’s medical team. The author has provided a multitude of primary sources to enhance the immediacy of her writing. The ramifications of each medical decision are reviewed and placed in their political and the historical contexts. The slow, lingering death of James Garfield in the summer heat of Washington, D.C., the anger of the American people, and the mental instability of the assassin all combine to make this an unforgettable book. Back matter includes glossary, time line, more to explore online websites, author’s note, source notes, extensive bibliography, index, and picture credits.
VERDICT Highly recommended for fans of medical nonfiction works by Mary Roach and other titles by Jarrow.

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