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John Adams Paperback – January 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster; Later Printing edition (2002)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0028QDN0S
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,157 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #863,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback; His other widely praised books are 1776, Brave Companions, The Great Bridge, and The Johnstown Flood. He has been honored with the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Customer Reviews

McCullough takes us through John Adams' life with great detail and insight.
Sinohe K. Terrero
She has the book herself as well, but I already finished reading this one before she could start reading her own copy.
V. Nobel
The John Adams biography by David McCullough has to be one of the best biography's written.
Chris Martinelli

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

288 of 294 people found the following review helpful By michael b sachs on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
My curiousity in John Adams first piqued by repeatedly in my youth watching the musical "1776" (of which Adams is the main character), I looked forward anxiously to McCullough's latest take on America's 2nd President. It didn't hurt that McCullough's bio "Truman" is still perhaps my favorite political biography of them all. With all these high expectations, I was waiting for my hopes to be dashed. But, nothing could be further from the truth.
"Adams" is a terrific piece of work. Relying on a treasure trove of letters and correspondence written by Adams and his tremendous wife Abigail (both of whom were compulsive/obsessive writers), McCullough replays the history of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Washington Presidency and Adams's tumultuous four years as President with vibrant storytelling and just the right amount of detail without getting weighed down.
In MuCullough's view, Adams was a brilliant, determined, forthright, nonpartisan, stubborn politician who was unabashedly American and ambitious for higher office only to the point that public service (according to Adams) was the greatest calling of all.
Anybody looking for a line by line history of America's birth, from 1776 to 1800, will probably be disappointed. McCullough skips over the details of the American Revolution and the drafting of the Constitution. He instead tracks the diplomatic journeys of Adams, who travels to England, France and Holland with Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (both occasionally) as they try to negotiate various peace and commercial treaties.
The best surprise of the book? Abigail Adams, an amazing woman living entirely ahead of her time.
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109 of 115 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"In the cold...New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north. The temperature, according to records kept by Adams' former professor of science at Harvard, John Winthrop, was in the low twenties."
One can almost hear the amiable yet dramatic tones of historian David McCullough, punctuated by paintings of New England blizzards and the sound of hoofbeats. (McCullough is a frequent narrator of documentaries, notably those of Ken Burns.) McCullough's familiar cadence resounds through this extremely well written best-seller. The details never slow the reading or obscure the portrait; instead, source materials (much of it from the Adams' personal letters) illuminate and concretize his subject. McCullough writes clearly, forcefully, and with an ear for detail, humor, and anecdote.
Overall this is a flattering portrait of Adams' longtime service as lawyer, revolutionary, writer and philosopher, diplomat, politician, and farmer. The book could well have been subtitled: "An Appreciation," both because Adams demonstrates so much to admire (including integrity, erudition, patriotism, work ethic, and courage) and because McCullough either doesn't criticize Adams or couches his disapproval by leaving some issues open.
Some readers may suspect a positive bias. Criticized and embattled by Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton--and by the libelous hyperbole of opposition newspapers and rivals--Adams takes on an almost martyr-like persona. To test McCullough's balance, one must read other books on both the Founders and the political culture of the times.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Douglas J. Richardson on May 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is an outstanding success on so many levels. The writing is most lyrical and beautiful...there is not one wasted word in the whole book. It's a book that is difficult to put down for the night.
Perhaps the greatest success of the book is the correction of many John Adams stereotypes. In this book you meet a John Adams who is a delightful wit, a man deeply in love with his nation, and more-so with his wife. Mr. McCullough also gives Abigail Adams her due as a most delightful person and one of the most important women in our history. The love the couple shared is as deep a love as humans are possible of giving and receiving, and that love is radiated to you from the pages of this book.
A warrning to Jefferson fanatics...during his research, I think McCullough, perhaps more than anybody else, gained a true understanding of Thomas Jefferson and has done the nearly impossible...portraying Jefferson as a human being. As a human being, Jefferson loses some of his shine. As a human being, john Adams shines even brighter.
Mr. McCullough has done with John Adams what he did with Harry Truman a few years ago...he has restored the lustre of a truly great and underrated American. I hope that preparing this book gave Mr. McCullough as much pleasure as I had reading it.
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195 of 226 people found the following review helpful By John Stark Bellamy II on May 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Although it is not his best book, McCullough largely (not to say "hugely," a sloppy modifier for which he has a repetitive weakness) delivers on the high expectations for his thick biography of the Braintree Sage. His research is good and he has skillfully employed the two best aspects of John Adams' life in his account: Adams' own voluminous, revealing writings and his marriage to the irresistible Abigail. His accounts of Adams' finest hours--the creation of the Declaration of Independence and his refusal to declare war against France in 1798--are dramatically structured and emotionally moving. The only real quibble with his treatment of the long-underappreciated Adams is that, like Catherine Drinker Bowen two generations ago (check out her bodice-heaving account of John & Abby's courtship in "John Adams & the American Revolution")McCullough seems to have yielded to the impulse to soften the edges of the oft-curmudgeonly Adams. It wasn't just his principled character that left his life littered with political enemies, and McCullough downplays his hero's rough edges in his quest to make John Adams another Trumanesque Man Of The People. It's a stirring read, though, and may lead lucky readers back to Adams' own writings, most especially the Autobiography, Diary and his correspondence with Thomas Jefferson.
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