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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 (2310 )
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4.4 (1209 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lea 02-20-13
    Lea 02-20-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
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    "America's beginning is compelling reading"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this audiobook to a friend interested in the story of the founding of our country and the obstacles to becoming independent and winning the war against England.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, it is too long and I wanted to take a break. The story is interesting, partly bacause you know the end, but you don't know the road traveled between the beginning and the end. Also offered in this book is a good description of Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia 02-11-13
    Patricia 02-11-13
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    "Great book well-written, well-read, very inspiring"
    Where does John Adams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    My first audiobook, so naturally the best.


    What other book might you compare John Adams to and why?

    I've read another book by McCullough. Both great books.


    What does Nelson Runger bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He reads as if just telling me the story. Very easy to understand.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, but that's impossible. It's very, very long.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matthew Vacaville, CA, United States 02-07-13
    Matthew Vacaville, CA, United States 02-07-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Good story/narrator, distracting production issues"
    If you could sum up John Adams in three words, what would they be?

    Resilience, determination, dedication


    Any additional comments?

    Although the narrator was good, the producer did not edit out long pauses or when the narrator would drink water. Mic'd up swallowing noises really took me out of the story quite a few times.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 02-04-13
    Susan 02-04-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Overall - well worth the credit."

    I am not a history buff but, for various reasons, recently decided to read or listen to a book about each president, in chronological order. John Adams, like the book about George Washington I listened to, was quite a long book, and with good reason, there is a lot of subject matter to cover. McCullough did a good job covering all the basics, and then some, for a beginner such as myself. Likely because I was listening and not reading, there were times I felt a little confused and had to re-listen to clarify.
    I had a very difficult time adjusting to the narrator's style and nearly gave up a couple times but, eventually, I somehow got used to the many long pauses; hearing him swallow and breathe was a bit harder to ignore. I have not had this problem in the several other audiobooks I have listened to.
    Overall, I think the book is well worth the credit and the hours spent listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Martinsville, IN, United States 01-23-13
    Mark Martinsville, IN, United States 01-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Never Boring"
    Would you consider the audio edition of John Adams to be better than the print version?

    I had not read the print version but have ordered it so as to have a hard copy to review. There were many of Adams quotes I would like to reference to and a printed version will make this easy.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John Adams with out a doubt, with his wife running a close second. Such an interesting personality! To many people he came off almost repulsive, but his resolve and moral compass seemed almost super human. A true patriot.


    Which character – as performed by Nelson Runger – was your favorite?

    Mr Runger was excellent in his reading and I love the slightly extended pauses between paragraphs. Almost purposely letting you, for a second or two, digest the last line. As far as performance of characters, it didn't apply so much to a history book since there aren't that many direct quotes.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not so much a moment but rather the true grit of this man that was put in to almost impossible situations that would make the best of us throw our hands up in disgust, and yet he held true to his principles with his head held high and forged on.


    Any additional comments?

    I will probably listen to this several times. It's that good. Not surprising though since it is one of David McCullough's

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-21-13
    Kristi Richardson Milwaukie, OR, United States 01-21-13 Member Since 2014

    An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.

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    "There is no greater guilt than the unnecessary war"
    What made the experience of listening to John Adams the most enjoyable?

    This was my first McCollough book, so I didn't know what to expect. I am a huge Barbara Tuchmann fan and he writes like her. The story flows with such interest that you forget this is history and are enveloped in the narrative. Nelson Runger was wonderful as the reader.


    What other book might you compare John Adams to and why?

    I read a book about Polk recently and these would be comparable, but I would have to say this one though much longer was that much better.


    What does Nelson Runger bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He has a wonderful voice and becomes the characters he is reading. Love him!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was very surprised at the depiction of Thomas Jefferson in this book. You would have to call him Adams "Arch Enemy", but they were able to remain in touch until their deaths on the same day.
    Jefferson was sneaky, cunning, a real liar and one of the most despicable characters that ever lived and yet, he was human and was also able to write beautifully and helped make our country what it is today.
    I don't think I will ever look at him with the hero worship of previous days, but I do plan on reading the Meacham book about him, because he was so complex.
    Jefferson made me very angry and it's always hard when someone you admire gets taken off their pedastal. That was my most extreme reaction, that and the tender love John and Abigail Adams had for each other. They really had an ideal marriage.


    Any additional comments?

    HBO made a mini series from this book, and I plan on watching it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TROY Whittier, CA, United States 01-21-13
    TROY Whittier, CA, United States 01-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Different point of view."
    What made the experience of listening to John Adams the most enjoyable?

    It provided a different point on view of the era before and after the revolutionary period of our country? Normally you get Washington's and Jefferson's.


    Any additional comments?

    If you enjoy history and like to understand our founding fathers you may enjoy this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gary G Hatcher GREENE, IA, US 12-24-12
    Gary G Hatcher GREENE, IA, US 12-24-12 Member Since 2012
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    "One man among the giants of our nation's birth."
    Where does John Adams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have found this book to be everything I had expected and more. It contains wonderful insights to not only John Adams, but all of the people in his life that guided our young nation.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I think being able to listen to it over time allowed me to better grasp the deep and rich talents and experiences in Adams' life.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margie Maryborough, Australia 12-18-12
    Margie Maryborough, Australia 12-18-12 Member Since 2014

    bella

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    "History made interesting"

    Listening to this audiobook has ignited my interest in history. I set myself a challenge to listen to something that I don't normally listen to. David McCullough has an ability to bring history to life. His extensive research and his clear and concise recount of events in the life of historical characters is profound. I have felt myself influenced by the character of John Adams and his wife Abigail Adams. It is the gift of a great writer to allow the historical characters to speak for themselves and to present themselves as they were, to readers and listeners of today.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Riverton, Wyoming, United States 10-11-12
    Heather Riverton, Wyoming, United States 10-11-12
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    "On my list of most influential books"
    Any additional comments?

    I will have to re read this book every few years for the rest of my life. It changes me every time I read it. Will I ever get through it without crying when Adams and Jefferson die on the 4th of July? No.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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