Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic

Last updated date: June 17, 2019

DWYM Score
9.7

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We looked at the top 1 Non-Fiction Books and dug through the reviews from 9 of the most popular review sites including Good Reads, Kirkus Reviews, Christian Science Monitor, Best Presidential Bios, The Washington Times, Desert News, Watermark Books, The Washington Post, Oregon Live and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Non-Fiction Book you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 87 expert reviews, the Candice Millard Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic placed 4th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best Non-Fiction Book for a detailed review of all the top non-fiction books.

Expert Summarized Score
9.8
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.4
1,984 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Superb American history.
- Kirkus Reviews
June 28, 2011 | Full review
With this foundation in place, Millard builds a popular history that is both substantive and satisfying. Filled with memorable characters, hairpin twists of fate and consequences that bring a young nation to the breaking point, “Destiny of the Republic” brings back to roaring life a tragic but irresistible historical p
- Christian Science Monitor
September 13, 2011 | Full review
Overall, “Destiny of the Republic” is a spirited, dramatic and fascinating tale focused on events leading up to the death of President James Garfield. Judged solely as a probative presidential biography this book falls short. But as a popular historical narrative focused on the death (and somewhat the life) of James Garfield, “Destiny of the Republic” is quite successful.
- Best Presidential Bios
November 19, 2014 | Full review
In addition to providing insights about our 20th commander-in-chief, “Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President” is an engaging, elegantly written and insightful look at the political and scientific developments of late-19th century America.
- The Washington Times
September 30, 2011 | Full review
Millard takes all of these elements in a forgotten period of history and turns them into living and breathing things. The writing immerses readers into the period, making them feel as though they are living at that time.
- Desert News
September 19, 2011 | Full review
Millard pulls several narrative strings together with great skill. First is Garfield’s story, that of a likeable and erudite man from Ohio who reluctantly becomes his party’s choice for President. Meanwhile, Guiteau, having proven a nuisance to the White House in a deluded quest to be named the Paris Consulate, receives a divine message to kill the President for the good of the country.
- Watermark Books
Millard makes a convincing case that Garfield may have achieved greatness if he hadn’t been gunned down, and his death helped unify a country still struggling to put aside its lingering differences in the wake of the Civil War. His term lasted only 199 days, so Garfield didn’t leave much of a legacy, and his brief presidency explains why he has almost footnote status in many history texts
- The Washington Post
September 30, 2011 | Full review
In "Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President," Millard provides a splendidly written and suspenseful account of this fascinating episode in American history. She takes full advantage of her cast of characters.
- Oregon Live
October 15, 2011 | Full review
What experts didn't like
And this is where I found the one flaw in an otherwise taut book.Lacking a hero at the center of the narrative, Millard conjures one up in Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. In Millard’s telling, Bell feverishly raced to invent a device (a metal detector, in essence) that could find the bullet in the president’s body, but the contraption ultimately came up short.
- The Washington Post
September 30, 2011 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

Candice Millard, the New York Times-bestselling author of The River of Doubt, is a former editor and contributing writer at National Geographic magazine. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and children.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Tara Westover Educated: A Memoir
Overall Score: 9.9
Expert Reviews: 10
2. David Grann Killers of the Flower Moon
Overall Score: 9.8
Expert Reviews: 10
3. Dalai Lama The Book of Joy
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 8
4. Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 9
5. Timothy Egan The Worst Hard Time
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 9
6. Regina Calcaterra Etched in Sand
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
7. Jimmy Wayne / Ken Abraham: Walk to Beautiful
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 4
10. Douglas Preston The Lost City of the Monkey God
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Non-Fiction Books

  • Before breaking into the world of non-fiction novels, decide what sub-genre you are most interested in reading about. This will help narrow down your search in this broad genre.
  • Talk to a librarian about any new authors that are getting great reviews. They will have first-hand feedback from readers of those novels.
  • Use the resources at your fingertips, such as the internet, to research. There are plenty of websites that offer book reviews. So utilize them and find a great non-fiction novel to get started reading today.
  • If you are taking a college course and want supporting documentation on a topic you are learning about, the non-fiction novels will definitely add some dimension to your education.

DYWM Fun Fact

  • The psychology niche offers non-fiction readers outrageous and factual stories, such as “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Trials” by Oliver Sacks.
  • “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote was supposedly the very first non-fiction novel ever written.
  • Among the top 100 most popular non-fiction books are “The History of the World” by Walter Raleigh, “Common Sense” by Tom Paine, “The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin” by Benjamin Franklin and “Tales from Shakespeare” by Charles and Mary Lamb.
  • Another term for non-fiction novels is literary non-fiction.
  • Non-fiction does not discriminate by age or ethnicity. Every age can read and enjoy a book from the non-fiction genre. These days, non-fiction novels are becoming increasingly incorporated into education and the lives of young adults.
  • Good Sense Reading offers a list of age-classified, non-fiction books for parents to utilize on their website.

The Non-Fiction Book Buying Guide

There’s nothing better than a great book. Some prefer an imaginative story or fiction book while others thrive on non-fiction, factual storylines that tell us of real events. The non-fiction genres offer readers an incredible glimpse into the lifestyles and characters of actual people but often written with a dramatic flair. Truman Capote, the author of “In Cold Blood,” was said to have started this genre in 1965 when the novel was published (although, this is often not believed since there are several other non-fiction novels published previous to this date). There are countless sub-genres within the non-fiction novel genre, so be sure to check them all out before making your purchase.

There are quite a few ways that authors have approached non-fiction novels. Although the characters are real people and most of the facts are actual, there can be some imaginative writing in between, especially in conversations and such. The other approach is packed with all facts and strictly to the point, so the reader doesn’t have to guess what is factual versus imaginative. Both are interesting reads; however, you’ll have to decide for yourself which is most captivating.

Perhaps one of the most well-known sub-genres of non-fiction novels is a memoir or autobiography. Most have read a memoir in part, if not in entirety, during their school years. Memoirs are perhaps the most accurate works you will find in the genre since they are narrated by the individual themselves. In the autobiography, “Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover, readers will get an entire picture of a woman overcoming her lack of primary education and isolation when she enters the intimidating realm of college. Another incredible memoir is “Etched in Sand” by Regina Calcaterra. She relives her abusive childhood in this autobiography to show readers that you can not only survive but overcome trials and tribulations that befall you at a young age. The autobiography sub-genre offers people the chance to walk in someone else’s shoes and relive the experiences that shaped them. If you are a fact seeker, autobiographies will give you the most accurate account of a person’s life.

Within the sub-genre of autobiography, readers will find many narratives of famous people. If you are interested in pop culture and would like to learn more about how people rise to fame, this category is right up your alley. The book, “Walk to Beautiful” by musician Jimmy Wayne is one of the best non-fiction novels out there. He discusses the difficulties of being poor and the disorganization of the broken foster care system, based on his personal life experiences. A perfect combination of reality and fame come together in this category.

For a thriller-type read, the true crime sub-genre is where you’ll want to look for a book. This category is typically packed with mystery, violence, law and forensics — all based on actual events. The novels are usually embellished with creative writing here and there, but the main storyline is factual and true to the real events. In the book, “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann, you will find the retelling of the murders of several people in the wealthy community of Osage Nation in Oklahoma. You will find all the thrills in this non-fiction novel along with an accurate depiction of events around the murders. True crime non-fiction books are just the thing if you want to learn more about a specific historical crime.

There are countless other categories in the non-fiction novel genre. They have so much to offer from education to insight and instructions. Non-fiction educational options typically involve history books, science stories, psychology novels and literary novels. Whenever you want to travel, you will surely pick up a travel novel, and same with self-help. If you want to learn about sports, you’ll find facts stick with you when you read a non-fiction novel based on that sport. Technology, house and garden and social science are even more categories you’ll discover when you delve into non-fiction novels, and you won’t find a better way to learn and get inspired than through the books within this genre.

No matter what your walk of life is, non-fiction novels will give you the tools you need to constantly be improving yourself, increasing your knowledge and learning with a multi-faceted approach. Non-fiction novels of all categories should be a staple in every home.