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American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence Hardcover – May 6, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In a marriage that lasted more than 50 years, John Quincy and Louisa Adams shared a life as full and eventful as John Quincy’s more celebrated parents, John and Abigail Adams. Here, Cook concentrates on a critical phase of their personal lives as well as an important formative period in the history of the young American republic. In 1809, John Quincy was appointed first minister to the Russian court. Distance and the severe climate meant it wasn’t a plum assignment, but it became an increasingly important one. Louisa, not blessed with good health, found their stay especially difficult; her two young sons were left at home, and she endured the sorrow of the death of an infant daughter. Yet Cook utilizes the letters and diaries of the Adamses to indicate that she was a great asset, using her social graces to compensate for John’s blunt, gruff manner. She also traversed a war-torn continent in an effort to rejoin John in Paris. Historians may question Cook’s assertion that the diplomatic efforts of the Adamses saved American independence, but this is an informative, easily digestible glimpse at a successful political partnership. --Jay Freeman

About the Author

Jane Hampton Cook is the coauthor of "Stories of Faith & Courage from the War in Iraq & Afghanistan "and author of" Stories of Faith & Courage from the Revolutionary War "and "The" "Faith of America's First Ladies. "She and her husband, Dr. John Kim Cook, are the parents of two boys.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; 1 edition (May 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595555412
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595555410
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"American Phonenix, John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence" by Jane Hampton Cook is a weighty look at a first lady and president who are often forgotten. It is meticulously researched, includes a lot of interesting detail, and really fills you in on what it was like to live and travel abroad in the 1800s.

The part about this book that really bogged me down however, was the writing style. Cook seems to be emulating the flowery diction of the 19th century. I felt like I should play a drinking game every time she used the word "recreate".

The author also put in a lot of unnecessary wondering. "Perhaps Louis was wearing.... She might have been thinking... She was probably familiar with...." Those aren't direct quotes, but rather indications of the general gist of how the book goes.

There are a lot of history books that I love and then pass on to my father in law. This book isn't one of them. Mainly because of the flowery style, but also because I kept wishing the author would get to the point.

But on the plus side, I 100% believe the author knows her stuff. Kudos to Jane Hampton Cook for the tremendous amount of research she put into this book.

P.S. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and review.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a MUST read. Jane Hampton Cook does an AWESOME job in her historical descriptions of events and character development. The newly founded America had a very hard time establishing itself in the World and there were many misunderstandings about Americans. We always think of ourselves as a strong Nation but there was a time in history that the tables might have easily turned. Jane has described some of the trials and tribulation of life in 1812 from wars and famous leaders, patriotic hardships we endured and family struggles. She has delicately entwined upto date reasoning for some of the occurances and made interesting comparisons. In closing, let me tell you how much we enjoyed her book! We have many teachers in our organization and they are planning pathways to get this book into the High School History required reading. Jane's writing style is very professional with and easy read for those interested in history. She has demonstrated that History does not have to be a boring subject! Hat's off to a job well done..
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Format: Hardcover
All in all I found American Phoenix: John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence a fascinating read that really gives the reader a glimpse of the Adams'. Author Jane Hampton Cook did a fabulous job researching the time frame covered in this book and a great job giving meticulous details.

I was certainly enthralled in the story and did learn a lot about John Quincy Adams and his wife Louisa. I can't compliment Cook enough for compiling all these details and making such an interesting and exciting book.

The drawback, unfortunately, is squarely placed in Cook's lap, mainly her rather amateurish writing style. More specifically her bad habit of making modern comparisons in the middle of a book covering events in the 19th Century as well as her really terrible practice of using literary comparisons. These descriptive comparisons appear to be more at home in an elementary school writing assignment than a serious history. Some good editor was required to remove these ridiculous, obtrusive, literary foibles.

I would recommend this book, and give it 3 out of 5 Stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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Format: Hardcover
In March 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John and penned her famous reminder to "remember the ladies", encouraging him to fight for women's roles in society beyond domestic occupations. Author Jane Hampton Cook carries on the legacy of Abigail's benchmark hope in recognizing women and their contributions to our country, with her marvelous new book American Phoenix John Quincy Adams and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence. For the first time, we "remember" Abigail's daughter-in-law, Louisa Adams, in an equally powerful story, chronicling her role beyond simply that of the wife of John Quincy Adams and enter her world through her own words and actions. Mrs. Cook does a scholarly job of blending primary source material with historically interesting events, making Louisa an approachable character and seeing her national importance and influence so thoroughly for the first time. Mrs. Cook gives equal attention to Louisa, as she does to John Quincy, and we see the complex relationship that was the structure of this important marriage and its impact on our national story. This is an extremely interesting and important biography in deepening our understanding of our country's heritage.
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