The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire

The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller
Random House | 2011 | ISBN: 1400067529 | EPUB | 5.53MB

Miller (former correspondent, Wall Street Journal) gives us a dual biography of President William McKinley and Leon Czolgosz, the anarchist who assassinated him in 1901. In the process he provides an overview of the rise of the anarchist movement and the expansion of American involvement in foreign affairs at the time. McKinley represented the wealthy classes profiting from the rapid expansion of the U.S. industrial economy, while Czolgosz was emblematic of those who worked the mines and factories. Loss of a job during the 1883 financial crisis radicalized Czolgosz.

Miller intertwines events leading up to famous 1886 and 1892 riots and strikes with narrative on the Spanish-American War at Manila Bay, San Juan Hill, and Santiago in 1898. He also speculates that Czolgosz was not mentally ill but followed the example set by European anarchists who accepted the use of violence for political ends.

While covering familiar ground, Miller's thesis regarding Czolgosz's motives and the detailed picture of America and its place in the world at the beginning of the 20th century make for interesting reading that nicely complements Eric Rauchway's Murdering McKinley.



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