The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century


It would have been more appropriate for Scott Miller’s book, “The President and the Assassin,” to be titled, “A history of McKinley’s Presidency.”  Having come from reading about the assassination of Garfield, I was searching for another interesting tale about the terror that faced the nation when McKinley was shot. Instead, this book provided a history of who McKinley was and how he reached the White House.  Miller further described the life of Leon Czolgosz, the man who assassinated him with a pistol one day while McKinley was shaking hands with his supporters outside of an event.

I found it ironic that in both this book, and in “Destiny of the Republic,” the authors state that our country was polarized by politics and facing extreme economic times.  Unemployment was high, businesses were closing, and politicians were engaging in heated debates on capital hill rather than advocating for the American people.  Sounds a little too familiar, doesn’t it?

Since the book didn’t meet my expectations, I did not finish it.  But I found the portion I read to be interesting, and would recommend the book to someone who seeks to learn more about McKinley or politics during that time.

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