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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Don't Be Mislead
Don't be mislead by the reviewer who knocks the book. The book is excellent and allows the reader to absorb the great depth and breadth of this great forefather. To say John Adams is just an average man is like saying Mt. Rushmore is just another mountain. Adams was one of the most educated of his time and his intellect shows through in his and Abigail's writings, which you don't get in the movie. I was unaware of just how great his influence was on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence until I read this book. One is amazed at the sacrifices he made in the long and dangerous trips abroad in the service of this struggling country, and his time away from his family. He legacy is shown in his son John Qunicy and the values and education that John instilled in his son. I believe after reading this, that John Adams was arguably second only to George Washington in importance to the founding of this great country. It should be required reading of all high school students.
John Adams is a “Founding Father” of the US who I’ve never been very interested in. He lacks pizazz, y;know? But I have a newfound respect for the man after this book, revolutionary glory and stirring monuments went to others, but Adams was the workhorse of the Revolution. His purview was the mundane details of setting up a nation and without his work the US as it came to be, would not have been. He called himself an “ordinary man”, but his devotion and contribution to the forming of the nation was, and remains, extraordinary.
This book is a wonderful portrait of a man. He personifies many traits Americans hold dear - piety, thrift, willingness to engage in hard work both physically and mentally. He was a family man. He was an abolitionist in practice as well as word., he valued education and feared the spectre of mob rule. He had a ready wit and he loved life. He had his faults as we all do, but he rose above them. He suffered.
The book uses letters between himself and his wife, Abigail - who was a strong woman, Thomas Jefferson, and many other personages of the time to give us a glimpse into his psyche and hear his own words. It’s a beautifully researched and presented work of history and it is expertly narrated.
Adams should be in that rotunda with Jefferson, wagging an eternal finger at his well-PR’d buddy..
Heavy Breather Narration
I'm an hour into the book, now, and it is just painful to listen to. The narrator sounds out of breath and makes CONSTANT long, awkward pauses (about two per minute…literally) while inhaling loudly right into his mic. His voice is not the issue, and the book is wonderful, but for $60 and after listening to the little preview excerpt, I expected better. I get two sentences of the book, and then 10 seconds of the narrator breathing and making mouth noises before we move on to another two sentences. It's maddening.
Now I know why it's 29 hours long. Fully a fifth of this reading is the narrator's heavy breathing.