I love a good book...
With the events of the last couple of weeks this book helps one better understand how our government should operate. It is too bad that our current constituency don't understand their role in the state of this nation.
The story of a great man (and a touching love story) during an unprecedented time of history - well narrated and worth every minute. Go for the unabridged version.
The narrator's performance is flawless. The quality of the book exactly what we would expect from the author. He moved me to be a prouder American and a good citizen while at the same time confirming my religious convictions.
What I love most about John Adams are the same qualities that have often been spoken about him before; his "..ability to see large things largely," his ability to present the truth without regard to the consequences, the devotion he showed to his country, his family, and most notably Abigail.
Abigail because she was a constant source of courage, strength, and wisdom for John. She, like John, also had a firm, accurate understanding of human nature and could read people quite accurately.
Ironically, my favorite scene David McCullough referred to John Adam's letters to John Quincy and Charles while they were both at Harvard. John Quincy had to be reminded to basically not "...burn the midnight oil..." too much and take care of himself, while Charles had to be reminded that there was a midnight oil lamp to burn. Even today, it still surprises me that two completely different personalities can come from the exact same family.
"Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it."
In this book, David McCullough specifically writes that John Adams "...at a glance..." had the unique ability to see things largely; a gift that David McCullough also has that is displayed quite prominently throughout the book. The ability to read between the lines the emotions and circumstances of the time, is something that people today often struggle.
David McCullough's research is incredibly thorough as usual. He really illuminates the life and character of John Adams, and his family members. The explanations of political thought during our country's founding are clear and extensive. The narrator dose a great job too.
Like all of my friends, I had no idea who John Adams really was and what he contributed to the making of the United States of America. The author of this book painted a full picture of the man, many of his friends and enemies, and the times in which they lived and died.
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.