Jacki: William McKinley

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century, by Scott Miller

You guys!! I made it to the 1900’s! I’m not going to lie, the mid-1800’s about did me in, but I kept my eye on the prize and WAAA LAAA!!!

Also, Ohio straight ruled this book. McKinley was from Ohio (Canton, represent!) and his assassin wasn’t from Ohio but spent tons of his time in Cleveland. I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again: I love nothing more than a book that mentions Ohio. I love it, presidents (and anarchists, apparently) love it, and you should love it.

And, down to business. This book. I wanted to LOVE it. I super loved Destiny of the Republic, which was written much in the same way. Both books followed the life of the president and the life of their assassin back and forth until their paths, unfortunately cross.

The thing is, the author didn’t do this well. The timelines don’t match up at all so we were hopping all over time and it just got kind of confusing and I never really saw how the two related or lined up.

Also, the whole middle was dominated by America taking over Cuba which was interesting at first but eventually I was just wading through. I understand that that was a major thing during McKinley’s administration but oh my lands. It was just too much.

I really liked the history of the anarchist movement at the turn of the century, but I think maybe the focus of this book kind of got misplaced. Between this and the Cuba bit, McKinley kind of got lost. The first couple of chapters were totally McKinley but after that I almost felt like he was just a bit player.

He came back in force at the end, which I really enjoyed but that middle, oh my gosh that middle.

My favorite part of the whole book was seeing how McKinley related to his wife, Ida. She kind of had this nervous disorder and was pretty much a spazz, but the president was straight up crazy about her and loved on her and protected her and it was just sweet and wonderful. After he was shot, the first thing out of his mouth was to tell someone to break it to Ida very gently. Their relationship was just sweet and good and I loved it.

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