James A. Garfield was one of the most extraordinary men ever elected president. Born into abject poverty, he rose to become a wunderkind scholar, a Civil War hero, and an admired reformist congressman. Nominated for president against his will, he fought the corrupt political establishment. Then, four months after his inauguration, a deranged office-seeker shot him in the back. But the shot didn't kill him. What happened subsequently is a powerful story of a nation in turmoil. The event shattered the fragile national mood of a country so recently fractured by civil war, and left the wounded president as the object of a bitter struggle for power--over his administration, over the nation's future, and over his medical care. A team of physicians administered shockingly archaic treatments, to disastrous effect. As his condition worsened, Garfield received help: Alexander Graham Bell worked around the clock to invent a new device to find the bullet.--From publisher description.