Pulitzer Prize, Biography/Autobiography, 2002In 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.
"Brilliant...a winner." (Publishers Weekly)
"McCullough writes to be heard as well as read." (AudioFile)
Addicted to reading traditional books. Overwhelmed by backlog of books to read. If it's early Americana then I want it.
There is a unique characteristic in McCullough books, in that they are loaded with information yet are never boring. I really wanted to hear McCullough's signature voice, but it was good nonetheless.
I enjoyed getting into the life of John Adams. Other books are great for an overview, but this book really dug into the life, thoughts, and actions of Adams.
some authors can write history in a compelling and fascinating story, but this was more typical of the history I read in high school, with often quotations that did not add to the story and narratted in a likewise dull manner. timeline skips around from other characters in the period, which would normally add to the story but made me think "this sounds like the story I read on George Washington all over again". One would think early american history could be a facinating story but maybe it's just dull.
There is a reason McCullough is described as a “master of the art of narrative history". Through his story telling and use of the letters written between John and Abigail Adams, I came to love these characters. It was a very exciting time in American history and one that comes to life through McCullough's penmanship and the outstanding narration by Nelson Runger.
John and Abigail Adams - what profoundly good and thoughtful people they were. On the other hand I now have very different feelings for Jefferson because of the insights into his character and documented letters.
I laughed and cried as these characters took on a life that I felt I was a part of.
I could go on and on, but why not let the book speak for itself? It is the best bio I have ever read, and it's about one of the greatest (yet rather under-appreciated) early patriots of our country. Without John Adams, there might never have been a United States of America, and our country would certainly not have the balanced form of government we enjoy. The fact that ours is one of the few democracies to stand the test of time is due in large part to the ethics and efforts of John Adams. The narration by Nelson Runger is excellent. All in all, this is a stellar biography.
This is one of the best books I've downloaded!
Loved Nelson Runger's performance of John Adams.
John Adams was only one of the presidents before I read this book, now he is a person I admire. What an amazing read!
Tells the story of the most neglected founding father of the U.S.A. That Adams was a thinker whose ideas shaped the Constitution. That he was one of the first and most vehement in calling and FIGHTING for American independence from England. That he fought for his whole life for his ideas. That he lived out his old age in happiness and died a fine death. (I tire of biographies of men I admire whose final days are marked by misfortune, tragedy and loss).
When Adams secured the acknowledgement and formal recognition of the sovereignty of The United States of America as an Independent State by the Dutch Government.
This is the main reason I'm writing this review. Perhaps this was suggested by the producer, but the reader has the incredibly annoying habit of taking long pauses between sections of the book. Presumably this is to "mark" the divisions, but it just made me wonder if my reader had failed.Another thing that is a particular pet peeve of mine (and might not even be noticed by others), is that I detest "mouth noises" when listening to an audio book. This includes, smacking, dry, pasty mouth sounds, breathing noises and the like. Surely these can be eliminated with judicious miking or filtering?
The moment above brought me to tears. Also, the trials and death of Adams' daughter, Nabby.
I loved the richness of the narator's voice unfolding the story of our country's beginnings
The correspondence between John and Abigail was enlightening and heartwarming. Their letters are a big part of the unfolding of the personal thoughts during this time of John Adams.
John Adams was my favorite.
No. This is not a book to be listened to more than once, at least in a short period of time. It was a great account of John Adams life and times but not spellbinding.
I enjoyed the look into the life of great leaders in that period. I believe I now have a good picture of John Adams and his personality.
Very entertaining. Good rhythm and tone. Used different voices when quoting various characters.
No. A little too detailed for extended listening.
please stop talking. i'm reading.
Interesting, yet one-sided account of a great man. In the author's mind, John Adams was always right and honorable as opposed to Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Above all, I loved the correspondence between John and Abigail. I'm interested in reading more David McCullough due to his highly informative, yet never boring style of writing.
I highly recommend this biography, but warn that the narrator almost ruined it for me. His voice is pleasant, but he takes long pauses, deep breaths and there are weird swallowing sounds - it's very distracting. Also, for some reason, he sounds like the guy from "Get Smart" when he is speaking as John Adams.
You can feel the research McCullough used to put this story together. You get lost in time and stay entertained in relateable eloquence.
I could really feel like I understood John Adams and really enjoyed the honesty. The book uses Adams' correspondence and gives the feeling of hearing John's story in his own words. I watched the television series along with listening to this title, and as is typical, the book is better! (The series stayed pretty close to the book, though.)
The death scene. What an epic event!!
The correspondence between Adams and Jefferson in their twilight years makes me think of my love for my friends. I know that no matter what they do, I will always love them for who they are.
I'm planning on getting other McCullough books.
"A great life that kept me listening"
Having enjoyed listening to Benjamin Franklin’s biography (by Walter Isaacson) I chose this book to get a different slant on the birth of America as an independent country. John Adams wasn’t as colourful a character as the polymath Franklin, but he probably had a greater influence on the creation of the USA as one of the key men in writing the Declaration of Independence and in formulating the Constitution. An example, like Franklin, of a man from humble beginnings achieving greatness through his intelligence, hard work and courage. Adams dedicated his life to his country, but one has also to give much praise to Abigail, his devoted wife, who endured long absences by Adams as he travelled in Europe negotiating with the British, French and Dutch governments to try and bring peace and prosperity to his country.
While the book illustrates the epic history of the birth of a nation, it is enriched by the personal side of Adams’ life and his relationships with his family as well as with the famous people of his time. I’m often struck by the fact that the personalities and relationships among the main players quite often have a pivotal role in the direction of history. Much of the detail of these relationships is furnished by the copious amount of letters that have survived. I wonder will biographies of the future have this rich source of personal information with so much communication now being done by ephemeral e-mails and texts?
On tends to learn history at school from the point of view of ones own country so it it's educational to hear about the American War of Independence from the other side.
Though a long book the story is engaging and the narration excellent.
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