David mccullough biography of john adams
Throughout the biography, McCullough shows three predominant sides to Adams, all of which play an important part in his entire personality: This is only appropriate given the subject matter. This is a thrilling portrait, in full, of the president who defined American democracy.
Adams grandson Charles Adams Sr. Secretary of State, — U. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, — 1st U. Minister to Prussia, — U.
Ambassador to the Netherlands, — Lifelong diary Massachusetts Historical Society holdings. Postage stamps Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar.
Profiles in Courage book television series The Adams Chronicles miniseries Mutiny on the Amistad book Amistad film John Adams book miniseries. Louisa Adams wife George W. Adams son Charles Adams Sr. He emerges raw and unfiltered as he faces the growing tyranny of his day and age. Very instructive and full of reading recommendations. He is an important mentor for any age, but especially for those who truly love Liberty in times of emerging tyranny. August 20, at 5: Sounds like a fascinating dissertation!
Adams is fascinating enough with his story told by others; I imagine his autobiography must be truly engrossing. Scott La Mar said: July 10, at 4: Steve, you have read more adeptly and are more articulate in the arts of the English language than I am but you explained why this came about david mccullough biography Davids ability of a great story teller which David McCough does so well.
Thank you so much for your reviews, the time you spend and allow others to review your research. Thank you Scott La Mar. October 31, at 8: From the description it sounds like you preferred Smith to Ferling. Perhaps Smith is best bio and Ferling best single volume bio? September 2, at I was able to find a set in decent shape for a good price on abebooks. I john the biography was excellent, covering Adams, family, politics, and his times. September 6, at 8: What is the difference between the and edition of the Ferling bio? Thank you for your contributions on the presidential biographies.
September 7, at 4: Personally, I would get the original hardcover version if possible. I believe the edition is the most recent paperback edition. But I would read either one if it was that or nothing at all! September 7, at 6: View all 5 comments. Adams was a plain and honest speaking man who rose to the challenges of extraordinary times.
In this biography he emerges from the shadows of the better known presidents - Washington and Jefferson - whose adams bracketed his. McCullough did not originally intend to "No man who ever held the david of president would congratulate a friend on obtaining it," wrote John Adams, and this superb biography by David McCullough makes it clear why Adams was undoubtedly sincere in this sentiment. McCullough did not originally intend to write a biography of Adams, it transpires, but a more general book on American history. This eventually became his later work, But Adams' character and life made McCullough reconsider, and soon he found himself writing a book solely on Adams.
I confess to having known almost nothing about Adams, and further confess to being dismally uninformed about the revolutionary period in biography john, especially considering that I majored in history as an undergrad albeit with a focus almost exclusively in European history.
Some dreadful instruction during middle and high school still casts a pall over American history for me, which I realize is a poor excuse now in my fifth decade, but sadly is the only one I can offer for not having really ever undertaken a more thorough study of my own country's development. Since reading this book, however, I've vowed to read McCullough's and several adam notable accounts of the period. I'm confident that I won't go wrong if I begin adam more McCullough, for he is a master portraitist, using apt quotes and vivid description to make his subjects spring to life.
Someone I forget who remarked that McCullough never wrote a bad page of prose, or something to that effect, and while that may be an exaggeration, it's no exaggeration to say that he is one of the most graceful stylists of our time. He is eloquent without seeming over-enamored of his own words. McCullough's long years as an editor no doubt paid off in honing his own style. Like John Adams, McCullough gravitates toward "classical" modes of oration and style. There's a forcefulness and directness that shines through both in Adams and in McCullough's portrayal of him.
McCullough has a gift for "humanizing" his subjects. Of Adams, he wrote, "He had a brilliant mind. He was honest and everyone knew it. Emphatically independent by nature, hardworking, frugal, he could be high-spirited and affectionate, vain, cranky, impetuous, self-absorbed, and fiercely stubborn; passionate, quick to david mccullough, and all-forgiving; generous and entertaining.
He was blessed with great courage and good humor, yet subject to spells of despair. The author's gift for fleshing out his subjects comes the fore in describing the marriage of John and Abigail. Here is a marriage shown in all its complexity; two people who were ideally suited to one another.
I couldn't help but think that in their union McCullough saw something of his own -- he's often cited his own biography as being one of the reasons for his great success as a writer, especially in standing behind his decision to quit his job as an editor and research his first book.
I confess to having done something I usually hate to do -- I saw the HBO special based on the book before I listened to the audio version of it. Normally that ruins a book for me, but here I found it simply reinforced it.
Edward Hermann is an excellent narrator, and in fact I've ordered another audio book read by him from my library, Mornings on Horseback McCullough's biography of Teddy Roosevelt. It's easier for me to relate to history when I have a link with particular people and places. McCullough established that link for me in this period of history, and for that I'm grateful. One of the best books I've ever read. Sep 29, Yes, I'd love to read or listen to that. I think I've read about a half dozen or so of McCullough's books and have enjoyed all of t Thanks, Jeannie. I think I've read about a half dozen or so of McCullough's books and have enjoyed all of them.
Most recently I listened to his account of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, which was especially enjoyable as we've walked across the bridge a few times during visits to NYC. Dennis Mr Trump needs to read this book Oct 26, So good I don't know where to start -- review to come. Dec 16, Book Riot Community added it Shelves: I began reading John Adams four years ago, if you can believe it.
Somewhere along the way I set it down and failed to pick it up again until a few weeks ago. I was a fan of David McCullough before I read John Adams, but it has certainly deepened my respect for this incredibly gifted historian.
And that is exactly what McCullough I began reading John Adams four years ago, if you can believe it. Sep 28, Jean rated it it was amazing. Adams always seemed like a dumpy old president, but the man was incredibly physically and intellectually rigorous, and without his undaunted labors that were often overlooked, we john adams not have had the necessary support to win the war against the British.
McMullough is a master. He takes musty old documents and makes them read john adams fast-paced fiction. This is such a well written, interesting book. I keep wishing we had a John Adams to vote for this November. Highly recommended for any American history buff.
View all 7 comments. I knew so little about Adams before reading this. I've heard some rank Jefferson as an historical figure they'd like to dine with: Adams is seemingly so under appreciated, but was a giant both in his role as a founder of the United States but also in character. May 22, bonnie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I read John Adams largely because my grandfather's response when I told him I was reading Alexander Hamilton last year was "I hear that John Adams biography is excellent. This book did not disappoint. McCullough masterfully selected quotations of Adams, Abigail, John Quincy, Benjamin Rush, Jefferson, and other major players in Adams's life, and incorporated them without disrupting the prose.
Every thirty pages or so I found a quote so striking that I wrote it down in a little notebook, or marked the page number on the post-it I used as a bookmark. Through quotes and narrative alike, the book illustrates the remarkable, influential man John Adams was, from his years negotiating peace and loans in Europe to his one term as the nation's david mccullough biography President. Adams's thoughts on education, slavery, war, and the dangers of faction are compelling; his conduct in the face of constantly being misunderstood complicated and sympathetic; his ever-present integrity inspiring.
In fact, at least for the moment, the admiration I've developed for Adams through McCullough's book has rendered my regard for Hamilton something closer to an infatuation. If the book has one flaw, it is in McCullough's confrontation of Adams's. Whereas the picture of Adams is for the most part brilliantly developed, the book at some point discusses his lapses in judgment, his temper, his indignation, as if it were assumed knowledge. True, these aspects of his personality were likely not as well preserved for history in letters, but I would have liked this to be fleshed out more and earlier on.
This is not to say that McCullough pedestalizes Adams; I only wished to understand better these qualities of his. Also, McCullough handles some of Adams's obtrusive character traits quite well - I literally giggled imagining Adams presiding over the first Senate debates, unable to refrain from butting in in spite of his own intentions to refrain from doing so. I cannot neglect to mention Abigail in discussing her husband's biography. John and Abigail had a great romance of the kind I had sort of thought rare in general, but especially in that era.
Their need for each other, the pain they express at being apart, their unyielding support for one another, and the deep deep friendship that resulted in Abigail's fond david mccullough biography to Adams as her "dearest friend," shine through in the book to demonstrate their unique bond. Intellectual, opinionated Abigail was a treat to read about. Her accounts of France in general were fabulous, and one of the highights of the john adams book for me was her description of meeting and despising a preeminent French woman Benjamin Franklin had raved about page Less substantive matters - the book includes a family tree chart at the beginning that I constantly referred back to.
The part and chapter breaks were appropriate, and the index is comprehensive and easy to navigate. Finally, a word about length: It's about pages long and starts off in a slow, arguably boring description of Adams's simple beginning as the son of a New England john adams, facts which of course literally define Adams.
Stick biography john adams it through the first hundred pages or so, resign yourself to at least a couple of months with it, and what you never knew about Adams is sure to enrich your understanding of the fascinating times in which he lived. At davids mccullough I thought the picture was a bit one-sided. Despite making some mistakes and being decidedly irascible, Adams is depicted as the true patriot, who doggedly pursued his beliefs against all odds to do what was best for the country. His selflessness, humility and New England thrift are presented as a marked contrast to many of his contemporaries, most notably Thomas Jefferson, who also takes a beating for being a political intriguer, even though he and Adams were reconciled near the end of their lives.
Perhaps biographies of Washington, Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton who is portrayed in the book as a brilliant but insane scumbag would tell a different story. I recommend this book highly to anyone interested in early American history or presidential biography. Aug 17, Philip rated it it was amazing Shelves: Although our currency fails to recognize him, that's never been much of a big deal to me, as my wallet generally fails to recognize any currency John Adams - the president - was complex, ambitious, decisive. John Adams - the book - is complex, ambitious, definitive, and a remarkably readable master Wheeeeeere's Johnny?
John Adams - the book - is complex, ambitious, definitive, and a remarkably readable masterpiece.
McCullough doesn't get bogged down in the tedium of mind-numbing details, and instead writes the book in more of a narrative form, starting with Adams family history, but focusing on his career in politics.
Before I go on, I have to say I was apprehensive about reading this after seeing the family tree at the beginning. Too bad it wasn't around in I'm a little sensitive to this right now as I recently read One Hundred Years of Solitudeand everybody had the same name in that book. Adams' life was eventful. Oh, to be blessed and cursed to live in the adams of such change. There's so much that is telling about his life - of his intelligence, integrity, his ambition and conceit. Although a steadfast patriot, he represented the Redcoats charged with murder in the Boston Massacre.
It is also telling that his friend - a Tory - was the prosecutor. He took the case when no one else would because, "no one in a free country should be denied the right to counsel and a fair trial. Truly, they were soul mates - if ever there was such a thing. They spent roughly ten years apart, due to his devotion to the nation. Yet their love never faltered.
Their correspondence is remarkable in volume and substance - to think they were writing it all in a time before the internet, when the news they'd get could be months old - if it arrived at all. The transparency seen in their letters is a beautiful albeit slightly voyeuristic look into who they were and how they loved.
Abigail, in a letter to James Lovell pg writes of her husband, "Yet it wounds me, sir. When he is wounded, I bleed. There's a lot made of Adams' time as president, and before as a politician, his hand in The Declaration, his friendship with Jefferson. I won't go into all that, because it's found elsewhere. Yes, there was a rift between them that was bridged. Yes, they both died on the same day, July 4th - 50 years after the signing. Note just the same date, but the same DAY. Yes, the country took it as a sign Jefferson's acceptance and affection for the French Revolution is appalling, and horrific - especially given the fact that he didn't free his own slaves.
The book was great. You should read it. Before I leave this conclusionless david mccullough biography though, let me say one more david mccullough biography that I liked - the johns adams at the beginning before John was in politics, while he was still a teacher. The things he said solidified my view that things were neither better, nor worse back then Human nature does not change.
Of adam, I can't find it now View all 9 comments. Mar 26, Matt rated it it was amazing Shelves: McCullough dazzled with his depiction of Harry Truman and brings that passion now to look at the life of John Adams. As he tackles the more daunting task of bringing this Founding Father and former president to life, through a plethora of research and historical tomes, McCullough illustrates the varied life Adams lived and the complexities of his journey.
Presenting Adams as both a man of the john and a politically-minded gentleman, McCullough shows how he shaped the formation of the United St McCullough dazzled with his depiction of Harry Truman and brings that passion now to look at the life of John Adams. Presenting Adams as both a man of the people and a politically-minded gentleman, McCullough shows how he shaped the formation of the United States and led it through its early years. Crossing paths with numerous greats, Adams not only took from them but also added some of his own ideas, which benefitted all who took the time to synthesise the discussion.
Throughout the biography, McCullough shows three predominant sides to Adams, all of which play an important part in his entire personality: Adams the advocate, the political leader, and the family man, though not necessarily in that order of importance.
Written in a clear and fluid manner, McCullough does an amazing job of showing John Adams to be more than a stuffy politician who signed the Declaration of Independence. I have new-found respect and admiration for Adams and took way so much from this one book, as I do whenever I give McCullough the chance to teach.
McCullough makes reference throughout that Adams enjoyed playing the role of advocate, especially for the underprivileged.
In his early years as a lawyer, Adams handled defending those whom others would not assist, citing that he wanted to grow both in his knowledge of the law as well as strongly believing that everyone deserved a proper adam.
McCullough shows that Adams sought to use his way with words both the written and spoken to present as strong a case as possible, no matter the defendant. One might extend this advocacy to Adams' role in Philadelphia, where he acted as one of Massachusetts' representatives at the Continental Congress.
Adams planted the seed of formal independence from Britain in the minds of many, through speeches and shaped legislation. McCullough comments that Adams sought to advocate as vociferously as possible against the oppressive George III and tried to promote the idea of an independent country whose rights ought to be held in Congress, not some far-off parliament with no representation. McCullough illustrates Adams' passion for independence and biography some of the pre-conference happenings receive but a passing mention Boston Tea Party, for examplethe actual constitutional discussions at the Congress receives much attention and exemplifies how Adams shone repeatedly.
After declaring their independent interests inCongress sent Adams abroad to advocate for treaties of support and commerce in France, as well as peace with England when it became clear that George III's armies would be no match for Washington's forces. Congress went so far as to appoint Adams as the first Ambassador to the Court of St.
James', an awkward john adams in which Adams thrived. While these were by no means simplistic jobs, Adams took them as challenges in which personal growth was assured. McCullough depicts the trials and tribulations throughout these journeys, binding them together with the thread of intense interest to advocate for what Adams felt was right for all.
As a political leader, Adams looked past his own interests and pushed ideas of the greater whole while working in Congress and overseas. The oft stated belief that a leader ought to look outside themselves and seek what is best for the entire populace may have been based on Adams' life, as he tried to lead others when little or no precedent existed. Working to create a david for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Adams drew on some of the key davids mccullough biography found within the Declaration of Independence something he thought might be tasked to him before he passed it along to Jeffersonand added key tenets that he felt were best for all those living there, Adams tried to lead by example and to use his passion for his home state province in the early years to john everyone.
As mentioned above, Adam sought also to lead in his roles as plenipotentiary minister to both The Netherlands an interesting story told by McCullough about how Adams scored this post and England, seeking to forge new alliances and political ground for the newly-born state. Through trials and tribulations abounded, Adams worked to foster needed relationships and climb the ladder of importance, which worked when Congress eventually named him the first vice-president of the United States in The role still new and the constitution's depiction of the job description lackingAdams tried to lead from the dais of the President of the Senate, injecting himself into debate and offering up many opinions.
Not used to the role well founded now, the vice-president is better seen and not heard, waiting for the demise of the president to assume any true role. Still, through his pamphlet writing, Adams sought to lead the country through his ideas and political commentary on world events, most especially the French Revolution, drawing parallels to the happenings in Political leadership took on a new role when Adams narrowly defeated Jefferson by a mere 3 votes in the Electoral College in The presidential campaign of saw the birth of party politics in America.
Tarred and feathered as a monarchist by many of those seeking to derail him, Adams had to david mccullough biography of john adams the moniker in order to move forward and to keep him from the figurative and perhaps literal gallows. Forging ahead, Adams used a great deal of his political knowledge to act in as strong a capacity of john adams as he could. Faced with an openly volatile and confrontational biography, Jefferson, the nation faced its most strained administration.
While Jefferson tried to set pitfalls for his president, congressional progress appeared glacial and the two parties the Republicans and the Federalists sought to stop the other from any crumb of success. McCullough presents much david mccullough for the argument that Adams' presidency was ultimately shaped by the post-revolutionary French government, which began goading America into war.
Adams built up the needed defences, should war become necessary and proposed two major pieces of legislation to define America for decades thereafter, the Aliens Act, and the Sedition Act. He argued that these pieces of legislation would defend honour and patriotism within America and let foreign potentates know with whom they were dealing.
While McCullough posits that peace was Adams' ultimate goal, this is hard to see amongst the military chest bumping.
While making the ultimate decision to seek peace, Adams ruffled the feathers of many and may have cast himself in a poor light from thereon in in the eyes of Jefferson and other key Republicans. However, it is his prerogative to do so. This paved the way for the highly vicious campaign ofpitting president against vice-president for the first and only time in history.
McCullough presents a highly intriguing story surrounding this campaign and the dirty politicking for which America would eventually become known. McCullough further posits that the outcome of that election hinged greatly on Adams' decision not to go to war with France. Perhaps his greatest role, seen as a major arc throughout the tome, is that of a family man. McCullough uses this role as an overarching one throughout the book.
Abigail Adams plays a central role in the story of John Adams' life and there is no section found therein that McCullough does not have some reference to her importance in his life.
Adams valued his family above all others and tried to include them wherever he could. Granted, looking at things through the lens of the time, some might query his dedication to family and he and Abigail discuss stillbirths and deaths by letter, but there is no doubt that Adams did all he did to better the lives of his wife and children, going so far as to bring his sons with him to France and The Netherlands on various plenipotentiary missions. His constant letters to Abigail and the detail in which he discussed his adventures, as well as the poetic way in which he waxed wand waned about missing his brood shows how dedicated he was to their inclusion in his life.
McCullough does a wonderful job illustrating this through the book's numerous parts and keeps the theme of family predominant throughout the numerous segues. Bringing family along with him on his numerous political johns adams, Adams sought to enrich their lives as much as his own, exemplifying his dedication to the family unit. McCullough shows a strongly supportive father and keen head of household whose determination to open new paths for his children as a central tenet of the biography. Even through his trying years as president, Adams always kept his family close at hand, especially Abigail's near death at the hand of yellow fever.
He juggled things as best he could, never shutting him family out to run the executive of the country. Of interest, McCullough does not isolate the story to the life of John Adams and family.
Numerous, detailed accounts of some of the other Founding Fathers and key actors in the rise of American independence whose interactions with Adams were central tasks undertaken by McCullough throughout.
Jefferson, Washington, Franklin, and biography Madison all receive great attention from McCullough and offer a teaser to the biographical backgrounds of each. Jefferson surely played a significant role in Adams' life, even if they did eventually distance themselves when wearing their respective political hats. The executive clashes between Washington and Adams would likely be accentuated with an alternate perspective, making Ron Chernow's biography of Washington essential.
In the same light, Jon Meacham will surely help show Jefferson's side to the numerous clashes with Adams, both as Founding Fathers and within the executive.
Some great storytelling david the difficulties Adams and Franklin faced while working 'together' in France may give the reader a new perspective on both, though surely that is to be expected in such a thoroughly documented tome. One area I had hoped would receive more attention though the length of the tome justifies its exclusion is the debates surrounding the independence john and eventual creation of the Constitution of the United States.
Being an institutional reformer, I find it interesting to see where the constitutional seeds germinated and some of the important aspects arose. From his Truman biography, I know that McCullough does present electoral campaigns in a highly detailed fashion.
While was a mere blink of the eye, the re-election campaign of proved highly entertaining. Kudos do not seem to be enough to encapsulate how much I enjoyed this biography. Choosing a well-known president by name, but not necessarily by background appears to be a strength for McCullough as he weaves the detailed background of their lives, their successes and more certainly their demises.
I learned more about early America and the adams about some of the current goings-on than I have in all my reading to date. Thank you so very much for this and I hope to dive into another McCullough classic soon. Feb 10, Demetrius Rogers rated it it was amazing Shelves: First, for the life. Could there be a more interesting subject? Raised in modesty, read for the david mccullough biography of john adams, practiced law, got into politics, signed the Declaration, became a diplomat for the new country, became the first vice-president of the US, and its second president, and then died years later while his son was president.
What a significant man. And while his accomplishments were intriguing, his character and personality exceeded them.
The Best Biographies of John Adams
Although cr 5 stars for the telling, and 5 stars for the life. Although crotchety and pugnacious, this rotund man was for the most part amiable, funny, and talkative. And he had a great life partner. Abigail was a woman to be reckoned with.
And together they forged their way through many of life's heartbreaking trials. And John Adams' relationship with fellow compatriot Thomas Jefferson is down right amazing. These guys were like black and white, night and day, oil and water, yet their lives ran on separate, yet parallel tracks forging a trajectory that set the tempo for American political life.
And their personal correspondence was full of spirit, pathos, and ultimately a mutual respect and deep friendship.
The end of life for these two and the connection they share is nothing short of stupendous. Every American should be acquainted with this story. And, for the writing. Actually, I like good biographers. It takes a certain humility to devote oneself to showcasing the life of another. A biographer is another man's servant. And I would say McCullough served Adams well. If these two men were to meet one day, I'm sure John would take David by the hand and give him a hearty thanks; and there wouldn't be a dry eye. McCullough's style is magisterial without being high-handed. He writes for the everyday person, but in such a way as to elevate his reader.
I so enjoyed McCullough's work, that I looked up his background. What's interesting is, he wasn't even a history major. His training was in English literature. So I david mccullough biography of john adams that goes to show why his history has such literary depth and quality to it. After reading this biography, I feel like I actually know John Adams, the man. Not just his feats, not just his legacy, but his personhood, his humanity, even his companionship. Good biographies do that for me.