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John Adams

by David McCullough

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,332184425 (4.32)485
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. This is history on a grand scale--a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.… (more)
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» See also 485 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
Who recommended it to me: Nancy Burns.
RIP David McCullough 08-07-2022
  Jinjer | Aug 12, 2022 |
Why don't we learn more of the founder's personality & its affects in the debate over key Constitutional issues? ( )
  Huba.Library | Jul 30, 2022 |
I enjoyed reading this book and it took me some to return to it and complete the tome. I would advise readers to complete the task after a break, to another book if required, and then march on again. This book was highly enjoyable, readable and portrayed an interesting picture of Adams. I was quite interested in how the other Cabinet Ministers would be portrayed in their roles against Adams. ( )
  thegeneral | Jan 12, 2022 |
History has been unkind and unfair to John Adams for the most part. I mentioned to one of my sons that I was reading this book, and I got this feedback: "He was all about making the president the most powerful part of the government and wanted the president to be addressed as "Your Excellency" (okay, that part is true), and he pretty much wanted to have an American monarchy."

His comment was a sandwich, one bit of fact sandwiched between two slanderous lies. But this was what my son had been taught. Oddly enough, I remember learning absolutely nothing about John Adams other than that he was our nation's second president and people didn't like him. Once again, this was a mixture of fact and myth.

I am so happy I took the time to read all 651 pages of this marvelous book. Adams, like all human beings, was imperfect. That's no surprise. What was a surprise is how honest, sincere, persistent, and intelligent he was. He was decidedly NOT a monarchist, nor was he universally disliked. He was a victim, starting with his vice-presidency under George Washington, of party politics. It was enlightening to discover that our current polarization is nothing new. It has been with us from the beginning. Adams was not a willing participant and his reputation has been wounded to this day because of it.

But I found so much to admire about him in this biography. He was a stout and loyal friend for life to many; he was a devoted and truly loving husband to Abigail and father to his children. But most important to us, he was devoted to the welfare of the fledgling democracy that he had been indispensable in founding.

McCullough also gives us a rare peek at what life was like in those times, as well as into character traits of such American mythological beings as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. It was an easy, put-your-feet-up-and-savor-every-word kind of book for me. I highly recommend it. ( )
  Library_Lin | Oct 4, 2021 |
I had forgotten how much of a storyteller McCullough is. He really knows how to make history walk off the pages. Unfortunately, I didn't have the rooms to finish it in the time alloted by my local library (as wonderful as it is). But I will come back to this one. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 178 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David McCulloughprimary authorall editionscalculated
Herrmann, EdwardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Runger, NelsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. What will be the consequence I know not. - John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1774
Dedication
For our sons David, William, and Geoffrey
First words
In the cold, nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north.
Quotations
I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading,
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. This is history on a grand scale--a book about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship, and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

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