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John Adams | [David McCullough]

John Adams

McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale, an audiobook about politics, 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, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2002

In this powerful, epic biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian 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. Adams thought, wrote, and spoke out for the "Great Cause" come what might; he traveled far and wide in all seasons and often at extreme risk; he rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; he was rightly celebrated for his integrity, and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and his marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the most moving love stories in American history.

Much about Adams' life will come as a surprise to many. His rocky relationship with friend and eventual archrival Thomas Jefferson, his courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778, and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits few would have dared and that few listeners will ever forget.

McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale, an audiobook about politics, 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, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

©2001 David McCullough; (P)2001 Recorded Books, All Rights Reserved; AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Brilliant...a winner." (Publishers Weekly)
"McCullough writes to be heard as well as read." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (1872 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.6 (834 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.4 (825 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (89)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Mike Fenton, MI, USA 04-29-08
    Mike Fenton, MI, USA 04-29-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Not nearly as good as the HBO sieries"

    The HBO Sieries was far more interesting. I could not get through the secnond part of the recording

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DB Nyack, NY USA 07-10-11
    DB Nyack, NY USA 07-10-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
    ratings
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    4
    4
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    "WHO EDITED THIS??"

    I am absolutely aghast at the edit of this audiobook. There are long pauses, two three seconds long, where we hear the narrator breathe through his nose or smack his lips. And this happens at least ONCE A MINUTE.
    How did Audible let this sloppy sloppy edit get through?
    THe narrator is fine, slow, but fine, but to hear him taking pauses and breathing makes this unlistenable with headphones.
    Audible--Wake UP!!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stpal001 09-11-10
    stpal001 09-11-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    44
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    "Primary sources on steroids"

    After slogging through the first half of this book over the last 2 months, I gave up and moved along to something else. No fault of the narrator. I should have know better from McCullough's previous works. One primary source after another. Detail upon detail, minutia upon minutia. How is it possible to take such a profound story and reduce it to extended quotes about his son's penmanship? A story can reach a point (and this one did) where the detail simply overwelms the plotline. I found myself 15 hours into the story saying "OK, I understand what he thought. But why did he think this? What was his worldview? What motivated this philosophy? Who is this guy?". But all I had was an icon; another "empty suit" of a founding father. My fatal mistake was that I had previously read Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton"; the antithesis of McCullough's style (and one of my Top 5 all-time reads). The first half of John Adams left me so bored I could not go on. So my 1-star rating can only apply to the first half of the book. I can only recall one previous time in my life when I found myself unable to complete a book. But I did feel a profound sense of relief when I finally "pulled the trigger" and walked away from this pointless and time-consuming pile of detail-flooded drivel. Sorry.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 06-06-08
    Joyce hendersonville, NC, USA 06-06-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "scholarly"

    I would give five stars for the excellence of the research. Letters written by our founding fathers provide details perhaps not generally known today. For myself, I needed to fast foward through far too many parts, although this may speak for my own dislike of detail about the politics of the time. I wished for more personal details about the characters and more information about life during this exiting period of our history. I just got bored after the third section. I do recommend this book for those who like historical detail about "what happened when".

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B. Reynolds Los Angeles Metro Area 04-23-08
    B. Reynolds Los Angeles Metro Area 04-23-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Snoozefest"

    If you're expecting a good story, then look elsewhere!

    Perhaps this author should take a lesson from Ken Follet on writing a history novel. This book is horrible; it reads like a high school textbook. It's all facts and very little story/plot. I tried to get into it, but no matter how many chances I gave the book, I gave up.

    4 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Baltimore, MD, USA 11-06-09
    A Baltimore, MD, USA 11-06-09 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    227
    1
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    "Good book, awful narrator"

    I gave up and read the book instead - which is excellent. The narrator sounds as if he has false teeth, and suffers from breathing problems and dry mouth. The long pauses, continuous smacks, and noisy breaths were very distracting.

    1 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United States 06-01-13
    Tim United States 06-01-13 Member Since 2010

    My reviews are always pending.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Read One and then Wait"

    Not too long ago I've read about Thomas Jefferson by Jon Meacham and that was an excellent biography. I was looking forward to reading "John Adams" because David McCullough has to be the best archivist in American History. The HBO miniseries about the second president of the United States is something to watch. Purchasing this book was an natural instinct for any history buff.

    Here is my recommendation if you are thinking about getting this book, but recently read about Jefferson by the other author. Please do yourself a favor and wait to read about Adams. It is not because the story is not good and it is everything that you expect from McCullough, but the two biography mingles into one story, where you keep asking yourself that you already heard Jefferson's story before.

    Don't read about John Adams if Thomas Jefferson is still fresh in your mind because it becomes a very long rerun on facts that you already knew from Jefferson's biography.

    You should read one and then wait before starting the other.

    I just gave this one 4 stars just because I kept asking myself, "Where I heard this information before?"

    0 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce Dublin, OH, United States 06-12-08
    Bruce Dublin, OH, United States 06-12-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "More soap opera than history"

    I've read several historical novels pertaining to American independence. This novel concentrates more on the personality of Mr. Adams and less on the historical events taking place. Perhaps this is because Mr. Adams left behind so many letters both from him and to him that the author got lost in the details. Maybe this gave Mr. McCullough so much material to work with that he lost sight of the importance of the historical events and the role Mr. Adams played in them.

    The narrator is fair-a bit slow.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Corvallis, OR, USA 04-14-08
    Jeff Corvallis, OR, USA 04-14-08 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    84
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    "Dull and Duller"

    I am a big fan of historical fiction and even like reading true fiction if well written and read. I thought this book would be a natural choice for me so I picked it up. I was unable to get all the way thru the first part no matter how hard I tried. It was dull, drab and drawn out. Maybe if I had to write a report for school it may be worthwhile to listen to it. But as pure enjoyment it is a chore.

    1 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Emmaus, PA, USA 04-08-08
    Jennifer Emmaus, PA, USA 04-08-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    49
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    "Dry!"

    As much as I like history...This was painful!

    2 of 10 people found this review helpful
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