Matthew Hunter, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Matthew Hunter)
The lives of a president and an anarchist assassin contrasted side by side in alternating chapters. I never knew the consequential nature of McKinley's presidency until reading this book. The story is told masterfully.
The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century
0 stars -
Random House -
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Miller, a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, faithfully captures the turbulent time at the turn of the 20th century when America faced discord from within and without, and war and an assassin altered America's history. President McKinley, then the most popular U.S. president since Lincoln, rose from humble beginnings in Ohio to become a Civil War hero and hardworking congressman, and as president determined to govern with a nonconfrontational style and maintain a peaceful foreign policy. In telling the stories of McKinley and his killer in alternating chapters, Miller uses sharp parallels between the president and his anarchist killer, Leon Czolgosz, a factory worker who lost his job in the crash of 1893 and was something of a loner who found an emotional outlet following the anarchist movement andÂ activist Emma Goldman. Goldman's words inspired the depressed man to violence. With a smoldering labor crisis, foreign woes with Spain and Cuba, and a harsh media barrage, McKinley finally thought things were going his way until the fateful day he was shot. Miller's polished and vivid narrative of these complex, dissimilar men makes this piece of Americana appear fresh and unexpected. (June)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review A Day"
by Elinor Langer, The Oregonian,
"Even without the intrinsic draw of the 1901 presidential assassination that shapes its pages, Scott Miller's The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century would be absorbing reading. A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal with a flair for presenting complicated issues and personalities as an intelligible whole, Miller examines the social, economic and political forces that underlay the transformation of the U.S. after the Civil War from a feeble newcomer in world affairs to the global power we know today in a way that keeps you learning and turning pages at the same time. Rewarding as it is to be able to grasp at last such late 19th-century mysteries as the monetary debates that have befuddled college students ever since, what makes the book compelling is neither the narrative nor the explanations but the sense of familiarity that pervades it all. Indeed, so many of the circumstances and events of the earlier time have parallels in our own that the experience of reading it is practically eerie." (Read the entire Oregonian review)
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