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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 (2072 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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
  •  
    Michael 10-09-12
    Michael 10-09-12

    Classics, history, historical fiction, marketing, Napoleonic stuff and of course 'Boys own Adventure'. This is my bent. Occasional self help as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "When amateurs become world class leaders."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If you are interested in politics, American Revolutionary history or John Adams this book is a must, but if you are just thinking of reading this because it won a prize or looks interesting don't.


    What three words best describe Nelson Runger’s voice?

    Accurate, annoying, and American.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Politics of the American Revolution


    Any additional comments?

    Good history, great writing, annoying narration, accurate story and interesting background. Can't wait now to watch the HBO Television series. To be fair, I am not that interested in American Revolutionary History but glad I listen to this book from a political point of view.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniella Signal Mtn, TN, United States 09-24-12
    Daniella Signal Mtn, TN, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2012

    I love listening to audiobooks during my long drive to work and while I clean house. Historical fiction, Biography, History and novels with strong, well-written characters appeal to me most of all.

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    "excellent reading and beautifully written"
    Would you listen to John Adams again? Why?

    yes, to catch the details i missed...it is full of information.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    John and Abigail -- too obvious? I love to read about a person who has integrity and sticks to his principles through everything


    Have you listened to any of Nelson Runger’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    no, this is the first of his


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

    the image of george washington, john adams and thomas jefferson on the same platform during adams' inauguration was a striking one.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SANDRINE Mexico City, Mexico 08-13-12
    SANDRINE Mexico City, Mexico 08-13-12 Member Since 2011
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    "More of our politicians should read this book!"
    What made the experience of listening to John Adams the most enjoyable?

    The wonderful life experience of great man


    What did you like best about this story?

    The parallel established with Thomas Jefferson.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The wonderful relation he shares with his wife, her support, his trust.


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

    It is a bit long for that, but I was captivated and dedicated every free moment to hearing it!


    Any additional comments?

    A wonderful page of the making of the USA.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caryl SPRING VALLEY, MN, United States 07-17-12
    Caryl SPRING VALLEY, MN, United States 07-17-12 Member Since 2012
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    "History is so Interesting"
    What made the experience of listening to John Adams the most enjoyable?

    The narration, and detail of history.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of John Adams?

    His thoughts in later years about himself.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Any where he and his wife are in conversation alone together.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The political tumult of yesterday so much like today!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Lee California 07-17-12
    J. Lee California 07-17-12 Member Since 2013

    Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.

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    "Mind Changing!"

    I have to admit that I had a jaundiced view of John Adams based on some of the other biographies, notably Hamilton's and Jefferson's, I had listened to. I was pleasantly surprised that Adams was not the blockhead he was made out to be by some of his contemporaries. Few men could stand in his shadow and not be found lacking in those qualities, which can hardly be found in politics today, and were rare even amongst so many great minds of that extraordinary time. McCullough does his usual master work in bringing to life this amazing man and the astonishing life he lead. The narration stays out of the way and allows the listener to enjoy the book in its fullest. I highly recommend it anybody who loves history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M. Vera Washington, DC 06-25-12
    M. Vera Washington, DC 06-25-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Fantastic"
    What about Nelson Runger’s performance did you like?

    Nelson Runger masterfully reads this book, making it interesting and easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    I saw and enjoyed the mini-series but remained interested in reading the book. Decided to try the audiobook, given the lack of time I have for reading. My hour commutes became very enjoyable and actually something to look forward to while listening to the book. The descriptions of the people coupled with descriptions of famous paintings/ sculptures of the famous men and women made it very easy to picture events in my mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Lynchburg, VA, USA 05-28-12
    Jessica Lynchburg, VA, USA 05-28-12 Member Since 2014
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    "The narrator ruined this one for me"
    Would you try another book from David McCullough and/or Nelson Runger?

    McCullough wrote an excellent narrative, combining letters and journal entries with the sequential events of the Adams' lives. Runger's voice was too folksy, and his depiction of Abigail turned an intelligent and interesting woman into a simplistic, sing-song whiney frump. It wasn't to my taste.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of John Adams?

    His love of literature, the philosophers and Shakespeare and his commitment to financial solvency.


    How could the performance have been better?

    When I hear a narrator read for different voices, I should be able to hear the character or person and forget the narrator. Simon Vance seems to excell at this. Runger, not so much.


    Was John Adams worth the listening time?

    Yes


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennis 05-07-12
    Dennis 05-07-12

    Listening with interest

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    "I lived John Adam's life through this book!"
    What did you love best about John Adams?

    If you are interested in US history this book is a must. I felt like I got to know John Adams and all of the key historical figures related to the birth of the U.S.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of John Adams?

    I enjoyed how Nelson Runger brought John Adams to life with his inspired narration.


    Any additional comments?

    The events surrounding the revolution and the birth of the US brought to life in this book through the eyes of John Adams are a must read for any lover of US history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 81-90 of 113 results PREVIOUS1891012NEXT
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  • Kirstine
    Bonnyrigg, United Kingdom
    11/3/14
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    "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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
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