|James A. Garfield. He wore his beard honestly.|
I don't watch as much of American Experience as I once did. I actually go to sleep from time to time these days, so that leaves less time watching TV, I guess. But when I heard The American Experience, PBS's long running documentary series on key events in American history, was making a doc based on Candice Millard's book, Destiny of the Republic (I believe suggested to me by Picky Girl), I had to check it out.
This week's episode, Murder of a President, covers the assassination of President James Garfield.
Yes, it's a case of "the book was better than the movie", but there was never any way a 2 hour doc was going to convey all the story Millard was able to get on the page. And, while the doc does try to capture the true tragedy of the murder, I didn't feel hollowed out in the same way that I did by the time I finished Millard's book. In fact, I teared up a few times getting through the book. Pretty remarkable for a non-fiction accounting of a President nobody talks about anymore.
Nonetheless, the doc is terrific and does a good job of understanding and translating Millard's work, and that of other historians and archivists detailing the story. You can watch it now on the PBS website.