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John Adams Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 22, 2001
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
"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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of the best books I've ever read. Amazing what a single man can accomplish in this life and the impact he had with the creation of America.Published 12 days ago by TomuchtooOften
Very detailed and interesting . I find it hard to believe such an important figure in american history is virtually forgotten.Published 16 days ago by Kindle Customer Terry B
An extremely thorough book that provides insight into the man, his character, and his motivations. While the overall depth can make it seem to drag on at times, stick through it to... Read morePublished 16 days ago by Tyler J Clark
I always thought of John Adams as a second-tiered president, being between Washington and Jefferson. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Stevejoeyd
This is the "abridged" version of David McCullough's "John Adams" and quite frankly it is disappointing. Read morePublished 19 days ago by D. Matlack
I heartily recommend David McCullough’s John Adams. Few people have had a greater impact on our nation than Adams. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Lori Lipsky
John Adams by David McCullough is an interesting book for every one who loves American history. I highly recommend this book.Published 23 days ago by Harriet J. Brown