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Best Book 

Destiny of the Republic
Candice Millard

For someone spending the last third of 2011 on a whirlwind publicity tour, Candice AMillard is pretty easy to be around. Of course she is — she's a Midwesterner, born in Ohio and schooled in Kansas, who has settled in Leawood with a husband and three children. And like a true Midwesterner, she's hardworking. Very hardworking. She has spent most of the past decade researching Teddy Roosevelt and James Garfield for her two books: the 2005 best-seller The River of Doubt and the brand-new, heartbreaking and deeply engrossing Destiny of the Republic. Being properly Midwestern, she's apt to shrug off that whole hardworking thing and simply say she likes what she does. For this year's volume, that meant moving to Virginia for a year so that she could work in the Library of Congress every day, combing the appropriate archives folder by folder, then traveling to various local historical sites to retrace the steps of Garfield and his assassin. For a former National Geographic staffer, no big deal. But to those of us who took the occasional C on a term paper to avoid completing a bibliography, she casts an almost mythical shadow. She told us that her system involves about three years of (hard!) work for each book, but we hope that we don't have to wait that long for whatever she writes next.

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