I enjoyed the book despite how long it was. the author's research was thoroughly displayed throughout the book, convincing the audience of his accuracy.
John Adams was at the center of events in America from 1770-1800, and along with Franklin, was the leading diplomat overseas during the crucial period after 1783 when it was far from clear European nations would recognize or trade with the new government. That the fledgling Congress chose Adams to represent America to the world at that time speaks volumes of the respect in which he was held. Yet Adams was never a larger-than-life, mythologized character like Washington or Jefferson, and never wanted to be. His ideas and personality come shining through this brilliant biography and he emerges as a far more likeable, honorable, funny, and amiable person than his political opponents (including Jefferson), using unfair slanders that had an embarrassingly long life in American history writing. This book and others should silence the slanders once and for all. His life and career are free from scandal. That he chose to represent the British soldiers during the trial of the Boston Massacre tells you what sort of character Adams had. No other lawyer in Boston would touch the case, but Adams said that everybody deserves representation and a fair trial in a free country, and delivered one of the greatest courtroom defenses ever in an American courtroom.
The reading was strong, with correct pronunciations of many difficult French names and titles.
The death of Abigail was the most moving part of the book. Such a fine, intelligent, generous woman, who was very much an equal in her marriage to John (very unusually for the wives of public men in this time). Her death might provoke tears.
McCullough is trying to squeeze a ton of information into a single volume. If you want to know more, you may want to pick up Page Smith's more detailed two volume biography from the '60s, and I recommend also the Adams-Jefferson Letters and the two volumes of Adams writings in the Library of America series.
This is a great story about a great man. His life and his relationship with his wife are truly inspiring. People all over the world have benefited from the work and sacrifice he made to help bring forth liberty. It is also a tribute to a remarkable woman Abigail Adams.
McCullough makes the men at the beginning of our country's history come alive in a way I never thought possible.
David McCullough did an outstanding job of painting a vivid picture of the life of a john Adams. Also was able to really tell what it was like during the times around America's Independence. I highly recommend this book to any fan of US history.
Can't imagine all the research that went into this enlightening book.
I wish I could just go back to certain parts, for example when the White House was completed and when the Adams took possession.
This was a thorough and very personal look at one of the most influential and important figures in the fight for American independence. Told mainly through historical notes and letters, especially from and to Adams himself, it is a very good, condensed version of his life. It gets to the driving principles of the man and examines his qualities and faults together. I was not aware of how important and overarching his influence was through those years from the mid 18th century to the early 19th. The extensive personal letters used to draw from for the material lets you really get to see not only from an outsider's perspective, but through his eyes as well. It is very touching and interesting.
Such an amazing man was John Adams, and Mr. McCullough has captured him in such a thorough and thoughtful way, that I was moved to tears as this dear old man I had come to love and respect closed the last chapter of his life. This book makes clear the glory of the fight for freedom and the wonder and folly of human nature. In the end it leaves the reader with a deep reverence for life and the way God has moved in the lives of human kind to advance their freedom and happiness.