Murdering the President

Murdering the President

Alexander Graham Bell and the Race to Save James Garfield

Fred Rosen
Foreword by Hank Garfield

248 pages
11 illustrations


September 2016


$27.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Shortly after being elected president of the United States, James Garfield was shot by Charles Guiteau. But contrary to what is written in most history books, Garfield didn’t linger and die. He survived. Alexander Graham Bell raced against time to invent the world’s first metal detector to locate the bullet in Garfield’s body so that doctors could safely operate. Despite Bell’s efforts to save Garfield, however, and as never before fully revealed, the interventions of Garfield’s friend and doctor, Dr. D. W. Bliss, brought about the demise of the nation’s twentieth president.
But why would a medical doctor engage in such monstrous behavior? Did politics, petty jealousy, or failed aspirations spark the fire inside Bliss that led him down the path of homicide? Rosen proves how depraved indifference to human life—second-degree murder—rather than ineptitude led to Garfield’s drawn-out and painful death. Now, more than one hundred years later, historian and homicide investigator Fred Rosen reveals through newly accessed documents and Bell’s own correspondence the long list of Bliss’s criminal acts and malevolent motives that led to his murder of the president. 



Author Bio

Fred Rosen is a former columnist for the New York Times and a veteran true-crime and history author of twenty-four books, including The Historical Atlas of American Crime, Cremation in America, and Lobster Boy. He can be seen regularly on the Investigation Discovery channel as a true-crime expert. Hank Garfield is a novelist and the great-great-grandson of President James A. Garfield.


"[Murdering the President] is a unique history of a dramatic moment and presents sufficient evidence to convince readers that a great wrong has gone unpunished."—Anna Faktorovich, Pennsylvania Literary Journal

“A groundbreaking work of historical scholarship and a riveting page-turner. . . . Rosen has produced the definitive account of one of the most dramatic episodes in our nation's presidential history.”—Harold Schechter, author of The Mad Sculptor: The Maniac, the Model, and the Murder That Shook the Nation

“Tracing the fickle lines of fate that brought several men together in a chain-reaction tragedy, Fred Rosen flings back the curtains on an oft-forgotten American assassination drama. Using a style reminiscent of Devil in the White City, the author reminds us how much science and medicine have changed—and how little men have.”—Jim DeFelice, New York Times best-selling author

Murdering the President succeeds both as a remarkably entertaining mystery and as an exemplary model of investigative reporting.”—Gerald Posner, author of God’s Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
Foreword by Hank Garfield    
Prologue: The Rainbow City    
Part One
1. “Circumstances Have Led Me into Both Callings”     
2. “First Fruit”     
3. “I Am Greatly Perplexed on the Question of Duty”     
4. “The Men of the Third Infantry Were Not Receiving the Best of Medical Care”     
5. “To Lose Kentucky Is Nearly the Same as to Lose the Whole Game”     
6. “I Probably Should Not Have Kept Attacking”     
7. “Why Don’t You Plant Flower Seeds?”     
8. “It Will Indeed Be a Day of Blood”     
9. “The Republican Majority in Congress Is Very Small”     
10. “Hands Up!”     
Part Two
11. “God Reigns, and the Government at Washington Still Lives!”     
12. “You Don’t Really Feel You Are Going into the Backwoods, Do You?”     
13. “The Doctor Declares that the Minister Does Not Own an Acre of Land There”     
14. “Be Always Sure You Are Right, Then Go Ahead”     
15. “We Should Not Speak of Love"    
16. “Aye, There’s the Rub”     
17. “Mr. President, Are You Badly Hurt?”     
18. “It Was a Time of Intense Excitement and Painful Suspense”     
19. “Science Should Be Able to Discover Some Less Barbarous Method of Exploration”     
Part Three
20. “Papa Has Gone to Make Poor Mr. Garfield Well”     
21. “She Excites in Me the Fire of Lawless Passion”     
22. “Feeding per Rectum”     
23. “We Were Enabled . . . to Use Specially Prepared Blood”     
24. “Mr. President . . . You Are Getting Out of the Woods”     
25. “The Bullet Was Not in Any Part of the Area Explored!”     
26. “I Think the Doctors Did the Work”     
27. “I Am Not Guilty of the Charge Set Forth in the Indictment”     
Epilogue: Over the Rainbow City    
Appendix: The Garfield Agreement of 1872    

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