Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit Hardcover – March 22, 2016
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Penetrating, detailed and very readable... [a] splendid biography.”
New York Times Book Review, Joseph J. Ellis
[A] splendid new biography.... Reliably thorough, blissfully bereft of jargon and nicely paced.”
Washington Free Beacon
[An] excellent biography.... [John Quincy Adams’] life is worth meditating on, and Traub’s biography is an indispensable resource for doing so.”
Adams surfaces as an ambitious intellectual with deeply held convictions striving to hold his family together through illness, tragedy, and financial woes while relentlessly promoting a strong, active federal government as the young but rapidly expanding and diversifying nation grappled with geographic sectionalism and political partisanship.”
Booklist, Starred Review
Traub thoroughly, even quite engagingly, follows Adams through the years during which he served in the diplomatic corps, building up the reputation as the new republic’s best representative abroad.”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
[An] essential biography of a complex man.... Traub shows that without imperiling national unity, Adams’s persistent, perspicacious opposition to slavery shattered the overweening confidence of the South’ and confirmed his place in America’s history.”
Traub depicts a fully fleshed character, an extraordinary man driven by his birthright principles, a voluminous diarist, scholar, poet, polymath, eccentric, and iconoclast. The author also offers a masterly portrait of Adams’ wife, Louisa. An impassioned biography of a coherent and consistent thinker who adhered to his core political convictions across his decades of public service.’”
Shelf Awareness for Readers
John Quincy Adams is a sharp portrait of the fascinating statesman who helped bring about the consolidation of the United States from fragile upstart into emerging major power. Traub’s plentiful source material Adams kept a journal throughout most of his life reveals a complex man: a Puritan patrician, a genius diplomat, a villain to many and hero to a hopeful few, including the Amistad defendants. John Quincy Adams is a magnificent work.”
The Arts Fuse
James Traub has admirably captured the man inside the public figure, giving us a view of a typical New England grandee, puritanical at his core, molded as a traditionalist republican with no love for pure democracy, convinced that governing was intended for the class born and bred for it.”
CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS
This week’s book of the week is James Traub’s biography of John Quincy Adams. By rights, John Quincy Adams should be one of America’s most famous presidents. His life story is remarkable, the son of one of the nation’s founding presidents, the only one to serve in an elected office after leaving the White House, and a man of vast intelligence and political courage who died while debating in the House of Representatives. Yet he’s an obscure figure. James Traub has rectified this in a book worthy of its subject.”
Open Letters Monthly
[T]his is a fine addition to the newly-swelling ranks of JQA biographies, and one of the finest political lives to appear so far in 2016.”
Traub’s attention to small, sometimes seemingly insignificant, details creates a vivid picture of Adams, his family, his colleagues and adversaries, and the society in which he lived and worked.”
Sean Wilentz, author of The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln
James Traub's new biography of John Quincy Adams is exceptionally strong. Adams was a complicated hero, a patrician visionary but also, as Traub puts it, a militant spirit, one of the most important diplomats in all of American history and, finally, slavery's greatest enemy in American politics. Traub does justice to both the man and his times, with a historian's sense of complexity and a writer's eye for drama and detail.”
Kurt Andersen, author of True Believers, host of Studio 360
Certainly by modern standards, John Quincy Adams doesn't seem like presidential material: all high seriousness and rectitude, uncompromising to a fault, precisely not a guy with whom you want to sit down and have a beer. But James Traub’s beautifully written, absolutely definitive biography is a surprising page-turner that made me admire this other President Adams as he finally deserves to be admiredand to wonder if the species of American civic virtue he embodied, always rare, always endangered, has not become extinct.”
Deborah Solomon, author of American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell
In the crowded pantheon of politically glamorous Adamses, John Quincy has long been overshadowed. Here he has finally been given his due. James Traub, one of America’s most incisive journalists on foreign affairs, has crafted a moving biography of an unlikely hero a tense, introspective man who had no gift for small talk and felt beleaguered by criticism from members of Congress as well as his own three sons. By capturing Adams’ unflashy brilliance and do-the-right thing convictions, Traub convinces us that our sixth president is as worthy of our affection and gratitude as any before or after him.”
Alan Taylor, author of The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832
In lucid prose and with canny insight, James Traub illuminates the life and political career of John Quincy Adams. Driven by grim purpose and consistent values, Adams was hard to love but demanded respect as he matured into a champion of liberty for all. Traub admires Adams tinged with sadness for the absence of his type in our own times.”
Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World
By rights, John Quincy Adams should be one of America’s most famous presidents. His life story is remarkable. The son of one of the nation’s founding presidents, the only one to serve in an elected office after leaving the White House, and a man of vast intelligence and even greater political courage who died while debating in the House of Representatives. Yet he is an obscure figure in American history. James Traub has rectified this in a book worthy of its subject. Traub is a splendid storyteller and a perceptive guide to foreign policy. The result is an utterly compelling book.”
Robert Kagan, author of Of Paradise and Power
John Quincy Adams was a great statesman and a heroic crusader for freedom, whose finest hours, ironically, came both before and after his time as president. James Traub does us a service by bringing him to life again for a new generation. With a journalist’s touch, Traub paints a vivid portrait of the man in all his complexity.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Traub does an excellent job of highlighting this man's virtues, as well as his faults. He has done a tremendous service to a man all but forgotten by history. With the exception of Alexander Hamilton and Mr. Adams' own father , there may not be a man who was so instrumental to our history that receives less credit than he is due. He is without a doubt one of our greatest diplomats and congressmen.
1. The greatest American diplomat of the nineteenth century: Adams served well in such difficult embassies as those established in Russia during the Napoleonic era, France, the Hague in Holland and the Court of St. James in London. He was a tough and skillful negotiator.
2. Adams was an early advocate of manifest destiny strongly calling for American expansionism all the way to the West Coast.
3.He was the author of the Monroe Doctrine while serving that president as Secretary of State.
4. Adams was a one term president who had difficulty with Congress and his political foes. The nation did remain at peace during his one term presidency. He lost to Andrew Jackson in their 1828 contest for the White House.
5. Adams was an extremely learned man. He read and wrote several languages; wrote a fascinating diary for over fifty years; was an expert on weights and measures and owned a huge library. Brilliant!
6. Adams served in several important governmental positions from Secretary of State, US Senator from Mass. POTUS and as a US Congressman following his service as POTUS.
7. Adams was a strong advocate for the rights of African-Americans. He helped free the Amistad slave revolt persons and died on the floor of the House of Representatives fighting for African-Americans rights.
8. Adams was a man of principle but he was not adverse to fighting well in the dirty donnybrook arena known as American politics!
9.Read more ›
Born in 1767, John Quincy Adams was the oldest child of John Adams (American founding father and second president) and Abigail Smith Adams. Young John Quincy always strove to meet the high expectations of his parents, both of whom demanded from him not only great scholarly accomplishment, but also behavior of the highest rectitude.
John Quincy acquired a first-rate classical education under the guidance of his father. He was keenly intellectual, and, by his own admission, highly reserved, judgmental, and rather cold and aloof – much like his parents. Also like his parents, he was a progressive thinker, and a lifelong, resolute foe of slavery.
In his teen years and early adulthood, John Quincy Adams served as his father’s private secretary while the elder Adams was negotiating the Treaty of Paris that ended the Revolutionary War. He was well traveled; he served as an ambassador of the fledgling United States to several European countries; all the while continuing his education.
He returned home and briefly served as a Senator from Massachusetts. His unpopular stands on several issues led him to leave office before finishing his term. Later in life, he served as Secretary of State in the administration of President James Monroe.Read more ›
To think of the historical figures that John Quincy Adams either knew personally or knew about is extraordinary. The only president to have met both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Traub's book details Adams's association with every president through James Knox Polk. He worked with them all, was allied with some, debated others and seemingly fought with everyone. He held positions in government that would be hard to repeat today and his breadth of experience was unmatched.
That said, however, John Quincy Adams seemed to be his own worst enemy. His personality was cold and rigid and that extended to his family as well. His cool relationship with his wife, Louisa, is one of great study and the difficulty, disappointment and sadness he experienced with some of his siblings and children are remarkable in the sense that he was able to survive these and still thrive. His parents, John and Abigail and his son, Charles Francis Adams, seem to be only three that he worshiped and adored, and on whom he relied most heavily.
We see much of Adams through the context of his diaries, which he kept on and off for most of his life. What I came to learn as a sidelight to Adams's life was his interest in things mechanical (the new railroads, for instance) and his love of astronomy.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
James Traub has outdone himself and made history totally relevant to today. As a nation we are very much where we were when JQA was around, yet we don't seem to have people in... Read morePublished 3 hours ago by Robert
Marvelous biography of a complicated man in a complicated time. The founders had won independence and set the ship on course, but John Quincy Adams and his contemporaries had to... Read morePublished 1 day ago by MickM
It is a brilliant book of a remarkable president who throughout his life crusaded for freedom. James Traub does an excellent job of bringing him to life. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Suphan Andic
ho hum. Rich guys always seem to end up in Washington, even back in the day.Published 7 days ago by mark berg, lt Col USAF (ret)
An excellent volume about the life of an amazing man. Traub presents a balanced view of one of America's greatest diplomats and statesmen, yet a fragile and demanding father. Read morePublished 11 days ago by John Mathews Baxter
Well written. Interesting subject matter. Caught the intensity of a maturing nationPublished 15 days ago by kevin Newcomb
This book is excellent and tells the story of a very accomplished man.Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer