John Adams Paperback – Jan 29 2008
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Left to his own devices, John Adams might have lived out his days as a Massachusetts country lawyer, devoted to his family and friends. As it was, events swiftly overtook him, and Adams--who, David McCullough writes, was "not a man of the world" and not fond of politics--came to greatness as the second president of the United States, and one of the most distinguished of a generation of revolutionary leaders. He found reason to dislike sectarian wrangling even more in the aftermath of war, when Federalist and anti-Federalist factions vied bitterly for power, introducing scandal into an administration beset by other difficulties--including pirates on the high seas, conflict with France and England, and all the public controversy attendant in building a nation.
Overshadowed by the lustrous presidents Washington and Jefferson, who bracketed his tenure in office, Adams emerges from McCullough's brilliant biography as a truly heroic figure--not only for his significant role in the American Revolution but also for maintaining his personal integrity in its strife-filled aftermath. McCullough spends much of his narrative examining the troubled friendship between Adams and Jefferson, who had in common a love for books and ideas but differed on almost every other imaginable point. Reading his pages, it is easy to imagine the two as alter egos. (Strangely, both died on the same day, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.) But McCullough also considers Adams in his own light, and the portrait that emerges is altogether fascinating. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Here a preeminent master of narrative history takes on the most fascinating of our founders to create a benchmark for all Adams biographers. With a keen eye for telling detail and a master storyteller's instinct for human interest, McCullough (Truman; Mornings on Horseback) resurrects the great Federalist (1735-1826), revealing in particular his restrained, sometimes off-putting disposition, as well as his political guile. The events McCullough recounts are well-known, but with his astute marshaling of facts, the author surpasses previous biographers in depicting Adams's years at Harvard, his early public life in Boston and his role in the first Continental Congress, where he helped shape the philosophical basis for the Revolution. McCullough also makes vivid Adams's actions in the second Congress, during which he was the first to propose George Washington to command the new Continental Army. Later on, we see Adams bickering with Tom Paine's plan for government as suggested in Common Sense, helping push through the draft for the Declaration of Independence penned by his longtime friend and frequent rival, Thomas Jefferson, and serving as commissioner to France and envoy to the Court of St. James's. The author is likewise brilliant in portraying Adams's complex relationship with Jefferson, who ousted him from the White House in 1800 and with whom he would share a remarkable death date 26 years later: July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration. (June) Forecast: Joseph Ellis has shown us the Founding Fathers can be bestsellers, and S&S knows it has a winner: first printing is 350,000 copies, and McCullough will go on a 15-city tour; both Book-of-the-Month Club and the History Book Club have taken this book as a selection.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition. See all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
It's sadly interesting to see the attempts at criticism from the lesser luminaries whom it appears, probably have more chance at being read in rebuttal to McCullough than their own primary efforts would appear otherwise.
The proof, as it were is in the pudding. While this work is very well referenced and based in solid research, it's value is that it reads cleanly and clearly inviting the common reader in to know and understand better both the man and the times. To have approached it otherwise, as some appear to suggest with a more academic emphasis, would no doubt have endeared it to those whose lives are spent in the midst of dusty tomes and intellectual sophistry , but the point is that because it is so seamlessly written and interestingly presented, the impact is much broader for the effort and the bonus is that the accurasy really doesn't suffer for it, except to the narrowest of academics who appear to need to justify themselves by casting stones from their ivory towers.
Well worth the time and effort to read.
5 undisputed stars.
In some reviews, McCullough is criticized for being too forgiving of Adams' personal and political faults. I disagree. In fact, my overriding impression of Adams after listening to this book was that I probably would not have liked him at all had I known him personally. For someone who esteemed humility in others, he was outwardly very arrogant. And despite his frequent claims to desire the simple life, he seemed continually determined to attain high office and personal glory, even at the expense of familial relationships. He often claimed to be unconcerned with how history would remember him, but I can't help but feel that many of his letters to Jefferson and even family members were tinted with attempts to reshape his reputation for posterity. One response from Jefferson in the book suggests that even T.J. suspected Adams' motives for wanting to rehash old battles in his letters.
To be fair, I do believe that Adams sincerely changed for the better once he was out of office and out of the limelight, and that he was finally able to enjoy the company of friends and family above power and prestige. I also gained new respect for the key role that he played in building the new nation.
While the rich ground of Adams' life has been probed many, many, many times since his death on July 4th, 1826, no one has blasted as much life into this story as McCullough. The author understands exactly what it takes to breathe life into material that, in other hands, has the potential to be deadly boring. Reading "John Adams," you get the feeling that McCullough could write a biography on your neighbor the plumber and make it at least passably interesting. Working with a historical character like Adams, whose long life was filled with fascinating people and deeds and who lived at a time of great change, the result is little short of mesmerizing.
Most recent customer reviews
Knowing that this book had a favorable view of John Adams, and considering that John Adams served alongside giants such as Washington, Jefferson and Franklin, I thought perhaps... Read morePublished on July 16 2013 by Rodge
this is a school book that is required reading for my daughter. It is over $10 cheaper than her school bookstore.Published on March 1 2013 by liisa shafer
First off, I am an avid fan of David McCullough's work. I loved Truman, 1776, and Mornings On Horseback. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2012 by jeffthewise
I knew beforehand who was John Adams, but not much more. Now I know! The author did some tremendous research work on one of the founding father of the United States. Read morePublished on April 12 2012 by Marc Ranger
Until I read this book, I knew very little about John Adams (October 30, 1735 - July 4, 1826), the man who was the second President of the United States (1797-1801). Read morePublished on June 6 2011 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
"John Adams" by David McCullough is talented rendition of a unique story. Despite being remembered as the pigmy sandwiched between two giants, Washington and Jefferson,... Read morePublished on Feb. 3 2007 by James Gallen
The book on John Adams by David McCullough is very precise and gives a great overview of the second president of the United STates but also of the country itself. Read morePublished on June 22 2004 by M. Buisman
We are fortunate to have writers like David McCullough, willing to do the painstaking research to capture the essence and spirit of America's Founding Fathers and of the liberty... Read morePublished on June 20 2004 by Gary Griffiths
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Historical
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Political
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Presidents & Heads of State
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > People, A-Z > ( A ) > Adams, John
- Books > History > Americas > United States > 19th Century
- Books > History > Americas > United States > Colonial Period
- Books > History > Americas > United States > Revolution & Founding
- Books > History > United States > 19th Century
- Books > History > United States > Colonial Period
- Books > History > United States > Revolution & Founding
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Political Science > Leaders & Leadership