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The Education of Henry Adams Paperback – January 1, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Webster’s paperbacks take advantage of the fact that classics are frequently assigned readings in English courses. By using a running English-to-Spanish thesaurus at the bottom of each page, this edition of The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams was edited for three audiences. The first includes Spanish-speaking students enrolled in an English Language Program (ELP), an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program, an English as a Second Language Program (ESL), or in a TOEFL® or TOEIC® preparation program. The second audience includes English-speaking students enrolled in bilingual education programs or Spanish speakers enrolled in English speaking schools. The third audience consists of students who are actively building their vocabularies in Spanish in order to take foreign service, translation certification, Advanced Placement® (AP®) or similar examinations. By using the Webster's Spanish Thesaurus Edition when assigned for an English course, the reader can enrich their vocabulary in anticipation of an examination in Spanish or English. TOEFL®, TOEIC®, AP® and Advanced Placement® are trademarks of the Educational Testing Service which has neither reviewed nor endorsed this book. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605201081
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605201085
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,264,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful By D. Cloyce Smith on September 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
Nearing the age of seventy, when "the mind wakes to find itself looking blankly into the void of death," Adams wrote for his closest friends his version of the earth-shattering events they had experienced. He had 100 copies printed in luxurious editions and, in early 1907, sent them to such dignitaries as Theodore Roosevelt, William and Henry James, Charles Gaskell, and Henry Cabot Lodge. This private account was not released commercially until after Adams's death, in 1918, when it became a best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize.

Many scholars and critics, as well as Adams himself, view "The Education of Henry Adams" as a sequel to his earlier book, "Mont Sant Michel and Chartres" (also privately printed). Indeed, the posthumous edition of the later work opens with an Editor's Preface (signed by Lodge, but presumptuously written by Adams himself) in which the author proposes subtitles for each volume: respectively, "A Study of Twentieth-Century Multiplicity" and "A Study of Thirteenth-Century Unity." While the two works are certainly linked thematically, they are not companion works in the traditional sense: "Mont Sant Michel" is a personal examination of medieval institutional and cultural history, while the "Education" is Adams's reckoning of his own involvement in international diplomatic affairs and intellectual circles. In other words, one can safely and profitably read one book without reading the other.

So what is this difficult-to-categorize book about? Reduced to its simplest level, it recounts how an "eighteenth-century American boy" grew up during the nineteenth century, only to be intimidated and awed by the chaos of the twentieth.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By "dgl1976" on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I can only laugh, to hear the reports of students being required to read Adams. If there is one thing I am certain, it is that Adams would not appreciate being assigned. "The Education" is intended for those real students whose *desire* is learning. I put special emphasis on *desire*, not for the sake of being pompous, but to distinguish this type of desire as being self-motivated. Adams "Education" is a tremendous rebuttal to the ordinary, institutionalized education. There is little doubt as to the socio-economic benefits and sensibilities of formal education, but one should also recognize its inherent limitations. People seldom enjoy what they are forced to do! Adams' "Education" is not to be read as a classic, or because well-read people discuss it over coffee...rather, read it because you're curious. If you've forgotten that school and education are distinct, let Mr. Adams show you the difference. And well meaning teachers of the world.....Phuhleease, don't require Mr. Adams, as you will ruin the experience. --One last note; I think the other reviewers miss the boat when they call Adams cynical and depressing. This is not cynicism, but wit-big difference. For cynicism see Sinclair Lewis' Babbit(which you shouldnt assign either I might add). As far as depressing, I just don't get that at all. It was patently obvious to this reader that Mr. Adams' high-mindedness and detachment were toungue and cheek. In writing his "Education" Mr. Adams, no doubt, enjoyed himself...and while reading it, so will you.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Dear Stefi, Now that there is a slight lull in the happy Chestertown merry-go-round, I want to write a paragraph or two explaining why <The Education of Henry Adams> is one of the most interesting books I have ever read. This is why it is so interesting: It was written about 1906 and covers U.S. intellectual and political history from about 1860 to 1906. What is clever about it is the cynical, humorous sophistication (very unAmerican) with which he, an insider, regards all of these events. The book, like Montaigne or Rousseau's <Confessions> is an autobiography and, like Montaigne, Adams is of the view that life should above all be amusing, so that any great enterprise should be undertaken only if it is indeed amusing. The driving idea of the book, however, is where to find the truth (you guessed it--he is still searching on the last page). The places where he searches are very intriguing. He begins at Harvard, where, says he, he learned nothing from books and only one thing from the classes: how to get up and talk in front of large crowds of people about nothing. He was required to do this routinely, and his speeches were, like everyone else's, greeted with hissing and criticisms, so he learned not to expect approbation from an audience. Adams got heavily into the debate about evolution (Darwin being the hot topic at the end of the nineteenth century), because he thought it was the main amusement of his era. His position on evolution is "reversion" rather than progress. One of his proofs is a comparison of George Washington and Ulysses S. Grant. He admired Washington (a great general who became a great president); he voted for Grant (a great general). He knew personally the members of Grant's cabinet, thieves or incompetents at best.Read more ›
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