Regular price: $39.95

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

John Quincy Adams was the last of his kind - a Puritan from the age of the Founders who despised party and compromise yet dedicated himself to politics and government. The son of John Adams, he was a brilliant ambassador and secretary of state, a frustrated president at a historic turning point in American politics, and a dedicated congressman who literally died in office - at the age of 80, in the House of Representatives, in the midst of an impassioned political debate.

In John Quincy Adams, scholar and journalist James Traub draws on Adams' diary, letters, and writings to evoke a diplomat and president whose ideas remain with us today. Adams was a fierce nationalist who, as secretary of state, championed the idea of American expansion. Yet at the same time, he warned against moralistic and militaristic policies abroad - a chastening wisdom that makes him the father of what we now call "realism" in foreign policy. As president he was a bold proponent of the idea of activist government later brought to fruition by Abraham Lincoln and others.

Adams' numerous achievements - and equally numerous failures - stand as testaments to his unwavering moral convictions. A man who refused to take refuge in the politically prudent course of action, Adams was repudiated by his own Federalist party and, as president, by the nation that voted him out of office. And yet, in the final decade of his life, Adams regained the country's regard, and even reverence, for as a congressman he often stood alone against the forces of slavery, twice beating back motions of censure. John Quincy Adams tells the story of this brilliant, flinty, and unyielding man whose life exemplified political courage - a life against which each of us might measure our own.

©2016 James Traub (P)2016 Audible, Inc.

More from the same

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    179
  • 4 Stars
    48
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    161
  • 4 Stars
    43
  • 3 Stars
    5
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    163
  • 4 Stars
    37
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great History of our Republic

JQ Adams insight and involvement in first 70 years of our nation is remarkable and unequalled. Thanks for providing his life story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • PW
  • 05-19-18

Outstanding American who sacrificed his personal advancement for those with less

Adams should replace Jackson on the 20 dollar bill. Outstanding story and great narration. Great American family that shaped America and provides great example for our young people.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • grimm79
  • Orange County, CA United States
  • 12-12-17

Best narrator of all the audio books I've listened

I thought the pacing was good and the history related in such a way as to make the moments very imaginable and personal. Whatever the narrator gets paid for his work, it's probably not enough.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Required reading for any student of American history.

What a marvelous book about a marvelous man. I do not recall a book that I enjoyed more. Mr Traub can be very proud of his achievement.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The importance of a great American.

Being a student of American history I was interested in finding at this man. Adam was the last America leader that was in the middle of the beginning. His whole life center on country first.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jay
  • Easthampton, MA, United States
  • 01-03-17

spoiler

The protagonists all die, it was kind of like Rogue One in that way... but overall incredibly well written and performed book.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Boring

This reminds me of high school or college history books (think VERY boring). I've recently listened to bios of Harry Truman, LBJ, Lady Bird Johnson, and a couple Churchill, to name a few, all of which were fantastic. I just can't get into this book, I'm sorry to say. Narrator is fine, but the text is the text.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Average President, Stellar Congressman

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes, but hesitantly. Adams is one of the most interesting presidents - not because of his presidency itself, which was quite average, but his entire pre- and post-presidency careers. The years in ministerial work and then all his years in Congress are unique among the presidents, and they SHOULD make for an excellent biography. But this is the first such biography I've encountered, and it fell a bit short. However, Adams is still a very interesting person to read about, and so I would still recommend this book. At least until I find a more engaging JQA biography.

What could James Traub have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Traub's writing had a tendency to stray into long stretches of dryness. It's a very common problem I've found with books on history, especially biographies. I mean, not everyone can be David McCullough or H.W. Brands. There's nothing outright bad about his writing - it was just that there are times where it feels like even he isn't engaged in the topic, and is merely relating a series of facts in order to get to the next interesting section. And in those sections, his writing got much better, with more of a storytelling flair.

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

Yes, although I can't immediately remember which book it was (I fly through these audiobooks like crazy so sometimes the details blur together). This one wasn't nearly as good. He conveyed the story effectively and there weren't any major problems, but it seemed a bit flat a majority of the time. Of course, with biographies and other historical books, there isn't a whole lot that a narrator NEEDS to do beyond simply reading the book, but a lot of the time it felt less like a book and more like a lecture. I don't know how much of that is due to Traub's writing versus Gardner's reading.

Was John Quincy Adams worth the listening time?

Yes. Minor complaints aside, JQA is still a very interesting character who spent his entire 80 years in the midst of important events. From his birth in the early days of the beginning of revolutionary spirit in Massachusetts, to his death in Congress during the heating up of the slavery debate, there are no periods of his life where nothing happened worth writing or reading about.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

What an Incredible Life



The author does an excellent job of telling the fascinating story of John Quincy Adams and his family. His life spans from before the revolution to the fight against slavery before the Civil War.
The Adams story is the American story. Well worth the time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

great story

this auto biography revealed a lot of facts and stories. about early US history that were new to me. it is an interesting story with a lot of details about John Quincy from cradle to grave.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • michael Billington
  • 11-26-16

Wonderful biography of the 6th Us President

Where does John Quincy Adams rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favourites. informative and enlightening and one I would highly recommend to anyone interested not only in US history but history and biography in general.

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

American Lion by Jon Meacham. it takes the listener behind the stereotype of John Quincy Adams which is that of a failed one term president and unlikable curmudgeon. The listener might not learn to love Adams but they will hopefully come away with an appreciation of his talents and his many overlooked virtues

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Hard to choose one episode but I really enjoyed the description of Adams role in the Amistad case.

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

You feel for Adams in sheer misery he endured during the presidency. And the death of his children and the suffering he endured as a result was something I had not previously known much about.