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John Adams

de David McCullough

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12,722186426 (4.32)487
The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. In this powerful, epic biography, 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; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. This is history on a grand scale--a book about politics and 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, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.… (més)
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Biographies written in third person have always been boring to me, but this one was an exception. The author´s good prose makes it a pleasant read, presenting John Adams´s character with the utmost detail. The problem is that most Americans simply remember him as founding father who was the President between Washington and Jefferson. Indeed, Adams didn't achieve something capable of captivating people's imagination, like writing the Declaration of Independence or leading an army through the Revolutionary War. But he did important things that affected the history of the United States in many ways:

1. Appointed George Washington as General Commander of the Continental Army.
2. Urged to Congress to declare independence as soon as possible, otherwise it would be late.
3. Acting on his own, he secured loans from Dutch bankers to the Americans in a moment of need.
4. He cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate of historic importance like protecting the President's sole authority over the removal of appointees.
5. Made peace with France despite the disapproval of everybody, costing him his office.

So this book made me see how important John Adams was for the formation of the United States, his contributions propelled by his burning patriotism. Similar to Jefferson, he was an advocate of civil liberties as expressed here:

"Government is nothing more than the combined force of society, or the united power of the multitude, for the peace, order, safety, good and happiness of the people.... There is no king or queen bee distinguished from all others, by size or figure or beauty and variety of colors, in the human hive. No man has yet produced any revelation from heaven in his favor, any divine communication to govern his fellow men. Nature throws us all into the world equal and alike...."

Another point to remember is his ever lasting presence as father. Together with his wife Abigail, he deserves the credit for raising an equally brilliant son, John Quincy, who later would also make groundbreaking contributions to his country. His parenting was described by Abigail while in Netherlands:

“The table is covered with mathematical instruments and books, and you hear nothing 'til nine o'clock but of theorem and problems bisecting and dissecting tangents and sequents"

I also admire his determination for understanding human nature (“Let me search for the clue which led great Shakespeare into the labyrinth of human nature. Let me examine how men think"). Maybe that´s why he had talent for friendship, and possessed a great power of expression.

In conclusion, if you´re looking to learn about the history of the United States, this is the place to start. It´s an excellent biography and excellent history book. ( )
1 vota Rodrigo-Ruscheinski | Jan 26, 2023 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "WOW! Aided by the diaries of John and Abigail Adams, and their compatriots (James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, etc.) one is blessed to read a history of our countries early years as if it were a novel. Excellent work by David McCullough. Strongly encourage DMJK to read this some day." ( )
  MGADMJK | Nov 6, 2022 |
Biography of John Adams told in the style of narrative history. Fortunately, Adams left lots of correspondences, which McCullough has used to bring him to life for the reader. We learn about his early life in Braintree, Massachusetts, education at Harvard, marriage to Abigail Smith, involvement in the independence movement, involvement in Continental Congress, visits to France and Holland, vice presidency, presidency, and later years. A good portion of the narrative focuses on his friendship with Thomas Jefferson, their falling out, and reconnection later in life. We learn about his accomplishments and a few blunders. He comes across as a person of integrity, character, and statesmanship.

McCullough paints his scenes in vivid detail. Adams apparently suffered from malaria, which he initially contracted in his travels. He had a bit of a temper, but never let it get out of control. He suffered from bouts of melancholy, which we might call depression. While President, he pitched in to help in a bucket brigade. I was hoping for more on Adams’ time as President, but this part of the book is fairly sparse and does not appear until the last quarter of this rather lengthy book.

Nevertheless, it is easy to recommend McCullough’s vivid portrayal of John Adams, a founding father who gets less attention than some of the other notables such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. He comes across as a devoted husband and someone who cared passionately about doing what was best for his country. Fans of American history will enjoy this one.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
Wonderful history but very very dense. Be prepared for a slog, but also to learn things you never knew our imagined about the second president. ( )
  dhaxton | Aug 27, 2022 |
Who recommended it to me: Nancy Burns.
RIP David McCullough 08-07-2022
  Jinjer | Aug 12, 2022 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
David McCulloughautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Herrmann, EdwardNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Runger, NelsonNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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We live, my dear soul, in an age of trial. What will be the consequence I know not. - John Adams to Abigail Adams, 1774
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For our sons David, William, and Geoffrey
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In the cold, nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north.
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I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any man judge, unless his mind has been opened and enlarged by reading,
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The Pulitzer Prize-winning, bestselling biography of America's founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough. In this powerful, epic biography, 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; who rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. This is history on a grand scale--a book about politics and 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, John Adams is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

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