- Hardcover: 535 pages
- Publisher: American Political Biography Press (January 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0945707142
- ISBN-13: 978-0945707141
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,125,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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John Adams: A Life
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<div>"This is an outstanding biography; Adams will not have to be redone for this generation."--Harry W. Fritz, Library Journal (starred review)
"This is a wonderful biography of John Adams--more revealing of his personal qualities than Peter Shaw's The Character of John Adams, more integrative of his public and private life than Page Smith's John Adams. . . . By inserting short sketches of the other leading founders, Ferling places Adams carefully among them and delineates Adams's preeminent contribution as a revolutionist and nation builder."--Ralph Ketcham, American Historical Review
"Substantive, well crafted . . . Ferling's Adams now has claim to the standard biography of its subject."--Richard Alay Rherson, Journal of the Early Republic
"Ferling has produced a dense, rich text and a wealth of information on our second president. In this sprightly book, he succeeds admirably in placing Adams in a context that is both true to his own time and relevant to ours."--Wendell Garrett, New York History
"Better than any other full-scale biography to date, Ferling's book places Adams in the context of his swirling times and makes clear why he deserves our admiration for his political courage and stubborn independence." --Joseph J. Ellis, the New England Quarterly
About the Author
<div>John Ferling is the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History at the State University of West Georgia. He has written several acclaimed books on the Revolutionary War period, including The First of Men: A Life of George Washington.
Top customer reviews
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What this biography tackles brilliantly and with considerable erudition is the character of John Adams; the politician, the statesman, the lawyer - and most forgotten - the friend and the father. Born into a family of modest if not lower than so means, John Adams' rise from childhood to be the most well-traveled statesman of his time (with the possible exception of Benjamin Franklin) is simply a joy to read about.
Dr. Ferling gets into his relationships, both professional and personal, all though while painting with the scenes of his life with vivacious narration and scholarly insight. I cannot recommend this biography enough for the educated laymen or serious students of pinnacle figures of the American Revolutionary period.
One word of advance counsel: Before you get comfortable, you will need close access to a dictionary while you read this work. Since I like to learn new words, I was not too frustrated. However, by the end of the book, it did get just a little old. Words like captious, sybarite, querulous, peculation, irascible, supercilious, truculence, vertiginous and hirsute are just a few of the many examples of very uncommon words littering the pages of "John Adams: A Life" that kept me searching. But don't take my word for it. Dig in and see for yourself. I don't say this as a criticism, unless you are wanting an unchallenging and mundane read. I read to learn, and this book was right up my alley.
Besides learning new words, I learned a lot of new things about our second president, as well as his times, the revolution he participated in, and his contributions to our national origins. I also learned more about his cousin, Samuel Adams than I had read in other books. In fact, Ferling drove me straight into the arms of Mark Puls ("Samuel Adams, Father of The American Revolution" and "Henry Knox, Visionary General of The American Revolution") when I finished his work on John. I have read Puls' work on Henry Knox and I know he is good, too.
In short, to me, a good writer is one who creates interest, curiosity, and a desire to learn more. Like David McCullough and a host of other great writers, John E. Ferling does just that. I am totally satisfied with what I have read in this great work, but also sufficiently unsatisfied that I am inspired to learn more. John Ferling did his job well and I highly recommend this result of his efforts.
I like the way the author shows us all the warts and bumps of Adams' character, while at the same time pointing out that Adams' has probably been criticized more so for vanity, pettiness, etc. because his personal notes are much more personal in nature than any of his contemporaries. Washington, for example, wrote much about his daily expenses, his "turneps", etc., but very little about his inner thoughts.