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)
Quite simply, this was the most fascinating history I have ever read. I am grateful to David McCullough for his meticulous research and masterful writing. He has allowed me to personally know two of the nation's finest and most noble citizens, John and Abigail Adams.
I am also grateful to the narrator, Nelson Runger, whose voice fit the subject matter perfectly. It is clear he knew the book, the times and the characters inside and out.
"John Adams" is now on my ipod, my iphone and on my Kindle; it goes where I go and I intend to listen to it again and again.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading John Adams's insights and thoughts on art, literature, friendship, family, work ethic, history, the future, government, and politics. This book is extensively researched and well written. What a privilege to learn so much in such an entertaining way. I am recommending it enthusiastically to friends and strangers.
Please don't let the comments on the narrator's pauses keep you from listening. This is a long story that is told carefully, and occasionally story tellers pause and swallow. Although noticeable, I did not find it at all distracting.
I don't consider myself a true history buff, but this work has awakened this in me. I understand more how a book wins the Pulitzer! I love the audio, and I also bought the book!
The sound quality for this download is horrible I often listen to Audible books in type 2 or type 3 quality but at type 4 (highest quality) "John Adams (unabridged)" is very hard to listen to. I was very close to asking for my money back but type 4 is tolerable and I really wanted to listen to this great book.
The reader does a admirable job. He is bright and cheery and matches the tone of the book well. My problem is it sounds like a very cheap microphone of the lowest quality.
The book itself is wonderfully American and describes the times well.
I'm a bit of a geek so maybe this book would have too many small details to keep less-patient listeners fully engaged at all times, but as for me, it was splendid. There were a few moments when the text was more speculative than factual, but then, most of our history requires some educated guessing to fill in the blanks. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to gain a fully fleshed out narrative of a great man during the birth of our nation.
PhD in Mat Sci & Engr
As I've listened to this book on John Adams over the past month I've found myself attempting to emulate his qualities. While I've always placed a high value on integrity, since listening to the book it's become something of a polar star for me. The daily walks that Adams would go on have motivated me to get out and walk around more myself. Adam's willingness to forgive old friends who had hurt him is remarkable. I am fascinated by the value he placed on friendship throughout his life. I have recently begun contacting old friends that I haven't spoken with in 15 years. I'm re-evaluating how I handle friendship; I hope to give my friends more of my time and energy and loyalty.
The listened to the story of Adams and Jefferson re-establishing their friendship at least 3 times. Very well told.
The end of the book was especially touching. I became emotional as I reflected on both Adams and Jefferson fighting to stay alive for the jubilee of this country's birth. I found myself offering a silent prayer thanking them for the many travails they passed through to give me the freedoms I've enjoyed since birth.
The narrator does an excellent job of voicing the different characters. The only hang-up I have is that often I could hear him breathe which wasn't too bad. But their was about an hour or so where his breathing was practically louder that his talking. It was pretty obnoxious.
Story held my attention. The pauses between chapters and sections could have been be shorter. When listening through headphones I could hear the narrator inhale after sentence.
David McCullough brings to life, not only the life of John Adams, but Thomas Jefferson and mant other figures of the day. For as pivotal of a figure John Adams was to the revolution, he is underappreciated by history. This book is the honor he deserves
I'm about 15% through right now--will update this review when I finish.
Adams is bravely, un-self-consciously honest. This means that all of his diary entries and letters are incredibly insightful into his own spirit and into the circumstances of his life and his world at the time.
McCullough is a brilliant author. Within 30 minutes, my ivory-tower view of this Founding Father had been replaced with a realistic portrait of a farmer, father, lawyer, patriot, and friend. I felt like I knew Adams well and could indeed predict his behavior as the story carried along. Incredible of McCullough to pull that off in less than an hour, and without doing damage to the storyline!! For that alone, I am already grateful for the book!
Chapter 3, 16 minutes. Adams says with regard to the trials of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre, "Better that many guilty persons escape punishment than one innocent person should be punished. The reason is because it's of more importance to community that innocence should be protected than that guilt should be punished."
I loved Adams' description of his school children when he taught at Worcester, MA before entering the profession of law. Adorable and imaginative. He was truly the consummate people-watcher and never failed to share his observations with his diary!
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