cover image

Murdering the President

Alexander Graham Bell and the Race to Save James Garfield

Fred Rosen

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: Potomac Books
Published: 09/2016
Pages: 240
Subject: History
eBook ISBN: 9781612348636


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.    


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.


"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