Capitol Hill veteran Kenneth Ackerman re-creates an American political landscape where fierce battles for power unfolded against a chivalrous code of honor in a country struggling to emerge from the long shadow of the Civil War. James Garfield
dark horse campaign after the longest-ever Republican
nominating convention, his victory in the closest-ever popular vote for president, his struggle against bitterly feuding factions once elected, and the public's response to his assassination is the most dramatic presidential odyssey of the Gilded Age
and among the most momentous in our nation's history. This journey through political backrooms, dazzling convention floors, and intrigue-filled congressional and White House chambers, reveals the era's decency and humanity as well as the sharp partisanship that exploded in the pistol shots of assassin
Charles Guiteau, the disgruntled patronage-seeker eager to replace the elected Commander-in-Chief with one of his own choosing.
Besides the successful assassinations of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy, there have been many attempts. While none of the business leaders of the Gilded Age led unblemished lives, names like Rockefeller and Carnegie are removed for philanthropy while others are recalled as robber barons. In the election of 1880, Republicans retained the control of the White House that they established during the Civil War. James A Garfield was elected president as a Republican in 1880 and assassinated in 1881.