Monday, January 30, 2012

John Adams by David McCullough

 About the book: 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 most 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.

First line: "In the cold nearly colorless light of a New England winter, two men on horseback traveled the coast road below Boston, heading north."

My thoughts: I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of our second president. It kept me interested from start to finish and was very readable, almost like reading a novel. My memory of Adams from history classes was sketchy at best so reading this  biography reminded me of what a  great leader he was and showed me he was also a humble man. I enjoyed the sence of time and place that came through in the author's writing giving a great look at the period in which Adams worked. It brought Adams and others of the time to life.

I especially liked the use of quotes from actual correspondance by Adams, Abigail, Jefferson and others to illustrate portions of the book. I highly recommend John Adams.

Quote: "The more Adams thought about the future of his country, the more convinced he became that it rested on education. Before any great things are accomplished, he wrote to a correspondent, a memorable change must be made in the system of education and knowledge must become so general as to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher. The education of a nation instead of being confined to a few schools and universities for the instruction of the few, must become the national care and expense for the formation of the many.”

5x4 Personal Reading Challenge (Presidents section)

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