We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life | [Paul C. Nagel]

John Quincy Adams: A Public Life, A Private Life

A United States minister, senator, president, and congressman in turn, John Quincy Adams was one of the most prevalent and dedicated Americans in history. Drawing from Adams' 70-year diary, author Paul Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned so many offices.
Regular Price:$31.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

A United States minister, senator, president, and congressman in turn, John Quincy Adams was one of the most prevalent and dedicated Americans in history. Drawing from Adams' 70-year diary, author Paul Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned so many offices. We learn about his passionate marriage to Louisa Johnson, his personal tragedies, including two sons lost to alcoholism, his recurring depression, exasperating behavior, and brilliant diplomacy. We see his frustration with the political life and the pleasure he drew from being a poet, critic, translator, essayist, botanist, and professor of oratory at Harvard. Nagel's great achievement, in this first biography of America's sixth president in a quarter century, is to finally portray Adams in all his talent and complexity.

©1997 Paul C. Nagel; (P)1999 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"An excellent book...Jeff Riggenbach beautifully narrates the story as interesting, vital historical biography....His inflections and vocal shadings urge you to listen further and to really appreciate this most accomplished public servant." (AudioFile)
"With this excellent biography...Nagel focuses more on the private Adams, utilizing diary entries to provide keen insight into this extraordinary man....The result is a fascinating psychobiography. Highly recommended for all libraries." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (82 )
5 star
 (36)
4 star
 (27)
3 star
 (14)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (2)
Overall
4.2 (54 )
5 star
 (25)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.3 (56 )
5 star
 (29)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    James Reno, NV, United States 05-16-10
    James Reno, NV, United States 05-16-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    29
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    75
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Good Book, Narrow Focus"

    This biography by Nagel provides the reader with more of a character study of Adams than an historical biography. This is not a problem as long as you are expecting a biography focused more upon Adams' lengthy diary entries as opposed to a more objective analysis of Adams.

    While this book had decent narration and production values, it is unlikely to enchant readers who do not already have an interest in John Quincey Adams.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Bellesiles 02-24-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Disappointing"

    This is a truly dull book. The author appears to be so excited to be using John Q. Adams’ manuscript diary that he has written more of a biography of the diary than of the man. The book sinks under the weight of trivia, as the author makes no effort to establish the significance of Adams’ daily activities and thoughts. Rather than analysis of the writings and actions of Adams, we get endless detail on what Adams ate, how much he paid for furniture, his opinion on flannel underwear, his hemorrhoids [seriously]. The author admits that Adams’ repetitious self-doubt can get tedious, and then goes ahead and quotes these passages over and over. The villain of this book is Abigail Adams, portrayed here as an early American “Mommie Dearest.” Nagel mentions books and essays by Adams, but does not quote from them, let alone unpack their significance. He states that Adams was a superb translator, but does not bother to give a single example of this skill. Here is a book on one of the finest intellects in early 19th-century America, and the reader will come away with the impression that Adams was shallow, self-involved, selfish, and rather annoying. It is little wonder that the narrator of this audio book often sounds bored.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harvey Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 05-13-11
    Harvey Trabuco Canyon, CA, United States 05-13-11 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Entertaining"

    You are taken through the full life of John Quincy Adams. The strength and weakness is that if feels like it is strictly from his point of view. The author often states that information is drawn from Mr. Adams private journal. As such, there is no great perspective on the former President's actions and achievements. That being said, it is well written and tells a great story. It is a great way to learn about a distinguished gentleman that lived an amazing life, but does not suffice as the definitive summary.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Unionville, VA, United States 05-18-12
    Dr. Unionville, VA, United States 05-18-12 Listener Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Tedious President"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The depth of the research. Too limited to the diaries, and unbalanced.


    What could Paul C. Nagel have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Read David Mccullough John Adams.


    Which character – as performed by Jeff Riggenbach – was your favorite?

    There was more than one character?


    Could you see John Quincy Adams being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I agree with other reviews that this book lacks scholarship. The author draws conclusions regarding Adams that appear to be difficult transitions. It seemed clear to me that JQA was ADHD. I would have enjoyed more color to the narrative, some context. The limited exposure to the Adams presidency in the book was because Adams chose not to write much about it, not because there is a lack of record.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Northbrook, IL, United States 01-11-12
    Jeffrey Northbrook, IL, United States 01-11-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Biography of an Underrated American"
    What did you love best about John Quincy Adams?

    I learned a great deal from this well researched book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed learning about Adams' devotion to his family.


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

    No.


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

    A true American hero.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dale Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-09-11
    Dale Pittsburgh, PA, United States 11-09-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    59
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    30
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    7
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Decent Tale, Robotic Delivery"

    Nagel's account of JQA is decent and will probably be sufficient for most readers/listeners eager to get a good summary and account of his life and times. Serious scholars should probably look elsewhere. As a relatively short work, Nagel has to make some arguably controversial prioritizations in his telling of JQAs life. For example, only one chapter is devoted to his presidency and the tone of the text is that it was such a dismal failure that one could be excused for ignoring it. (I don't necessarily agree with this.) On the other hand, Nagel does a good job of telling the tale of JQAs life in the House and how he shined in that setting even though it would be easy to miss this since some of his brilliance was in parlimentery tactics at key moments. The narrator is difficult to take at times. He sounds very robotic and occasionally pronounces words oddly or gives awkward phrasing to sentences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 09-29-11
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 09-29-11

    Adam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    69
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good"

    This is an extremely good book, about an extremely important person. Through this book, you don't just learn about Adams, but also about some of the most important events of the early 19th century, which he was often a part of. I have read a lot on this period, and yet some of the more important events, such as the Treaty of Ghent and the Monroe Doctrine, are elaborated on here in more detail than just about anywhere else.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-7 of 7 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.