Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Nation Builder: John Quincy Adams and the Grand Strategy of the Republic Hardcover – October 6, 2014
|New from||Used from|
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 mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
2014 has been a surprisingly fruitful year for studies of John Quincy Adams, and Edel’s book is in many ways the most intelligent of the bunch. The Adams who emerges from his pages is a fittingly complex figure, as often at war with his own nature as he was with the petty partisanship or Southern slaveholding of his day. Edel’s readers will take away from his book a new appreciation of how much the United States they know owes to this early President they’ve scarcely heard of. (Steve Donoghue Open Letters Monthly)
Charles Edel’s accurate, honest, and sensitive portrait gets both the history and timeless wisdom of John Quincy Adams exactly right. His ambitious grand strategy was designed for nation building―at home, in North America. (Walter A. McDougall, University of Pennsylvania)
Ideas and power are the key ingredients of national achievement, and John Quincy Adams mastered both at a crucial time in American history. Anyone interested in the history of our society and its future possibilities will benefit from this provocative and compelling account of Adams’s life, his thought, and his enduring legacies. (Jeremi Suri, author of Liberty’s Surest Guardian: American Nation-Building from the Founders to Obama)
[A] remarkable new work. Edel has written a book I wish I had written: a dual biography, of Adams and of the early American republic…The United States has been most successful when it has pursued the sort of grand strategy that Adams envisioned. Charles Edel has written a book worthy of the author of that grand strategy. (Mackubin Thomas Owens National Review)
Edel shows convincingly that Adams was the first to advance a comprehensive vision for his country. His ‘grand strategy’ required setting clear priorities and knowing how to tie them together in the proper sequence. Those priorities were neutrality with regard to the European powers, continental expansion westward, and promotion of economic development in the belief that improvement of the lives of ordinary citizens would strengthen republicanism. A last priority, not achieved in his lifetime, was to work for the abolition of slavery, which he regarded as a ‘stain’ on the character of the nation. (D. J. Maletz Choice)
In this masterful and fluidly written book, Edel tells the story of John Quincy Adams and explores Adams’ pivotal contributions to the American tradition of grand strategy. (Henry R. Nau Foreign Affairs)
[This book] has surprising resonance with the present. (James Fallows The Atlantic)
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Professor Edel clearly lays out the evolving strategy that drove JQA to protect our country from foreign entanglements, promote domestic improvements, and enhance federal power. And, most importantly, to stay in the fight to the last breath against the Southern slave power.
JQA laid the theoretical groundwork upon which, a few decades later, Abraham Lincoln triumphed.
This book should win prizes.
I thought Chapter Four ("The Spirit of Improvement") was an excellent summary of the failures of his one term as President. His inability to come to terms with the dynamics of a more fully enfranchised population and the Congress elected by it are well argued. Adams spent most of his life preparing himself intellectually and practically for the Presidency, but never cultivated the capacity for compromise or organizational skill needed to succeed in a political environment where his opponents outnumbered his allies. I cannot help but think this is an area ripe for further exploration, especially in light of the dynamics of American politics over the course of the past decade or more.
I truly appreciated Chapter Five (“A Stain Upon the Character of the Nation”) as a tribute to Adams perseverance after the letdowns of his Presidency. It is in his post-Presidential career where his moral strength and clarity of thought best served the country, and the line of reasoning in this chapter allows the reader to understand Adams impact on the course of the nation long after his death. Professor Edel is at his best illuminating Adams assessment of the effects of slavery on the country’s domestic and foreign policy, including Adams analysis of the impending struggle to dismantle the institution. Adams ability to take the long view politically and morally at the end of his career stands in stark contrast to the disappointments of his Presidency.
A fine read, I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the early development of political thought in the country, the tremendous influences on political leaders in that time, and certainly for those who want to gain insight into the actions of a little known yet highly influential American.
"Nation Builder" makes great strides in addressing both of these issues. It is at once a thoughtful exploration of John Quincy Adams the man, with a nuanced understanding of how his outlook and temperament evolved over the course of his public life, and a consideration of the degree to which America's rise was the product of a "grand strategy" rather than being a historical inevitability unaffected by leadership.
Edel has written a rich, sometimes dense, but always intelligent book. If you are interested in JQA or the strategic challenges of the early American Republic, it is worth a read!