This biography by Nagel provides the reader with more of a character study of Adams than an historical biography. This is not a problem as long as you are expecting a biography focused more upon Adams' lengthy diary entries as opposed to a more objective analysis of Adams.
While this book had decent narration and production values, it is unlikely to enchant readers who do not already have an interest in John Quincey Adams.
I strongly urge you to listen to the sample. The narrator takes liberal pauses with each punctuation mark (including commas) and talks at a pace that makes me feel like I am listening to my grandfather reminisce about his childhood. This is the first audible book out of thirty that I am seriously thinking about not finishing. I made it half way through and cannot bring myself to endure the torture of the second half.
The story itself (minus the narrator) is moderately interesting, but often loses its focus on its Tory theme and wanders into "Rebel" affairs.
I initially started this book expecting it to be Polk's biography, but the book focuses almost exclusively on the events surrounding and during Polk's presidency. This is not a problem as the book is still fascinating, but readers should be aware of this before they purchase the book.
I would have given this book 4 stars except that it focuses way too much on the insignificant politics of Polk's presidency to the point where it almost seems like a giant episode of the West Wing involving characters to whom you feel no particular connection.
Overall, A Country of Vast Designs is a book worth reading for anyone interested in Polk's presidency or the politics of the Mexican American War.
This book is well produced, well written, and well narrated. I would suggest this book to anyone who is interested in American History. However, I must warn you that the author is sometimes so praising of Hamilton that it made me want to gag.
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