John Adams, David McCullough

John AdamsJohn Adams by David McCullough chronicles the life of one of the more enigmatic founding fathers. This book won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize and seems to have started a mini-revolution of its own — that is a revolution in popular reading. Since the publication of John Adams, history books have been increasingly popular.

McCullough’s book introduces readers to the life of the second president. Starting in his beloved Quincy, Massachusetts and ending there on his deathbed 50 years to the day after the signing of the declaration of Independence. [Both Adams and his friend/nemesis Thomas Jefferson died on the same day]

Of all the founding fathers, Adams seemed from the earliest time to have a sense that they were changing the world.

John Adams was a Yankee lawyer. A religious man, he was serious, pugnacious and believed in hard work and study. He was a cousin to the more hot-headed Sam Adams of the Sons of Liberty and father to John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States.

Adams was part of the mission to France before the revolution and shared the duties with  Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. Adams puritanical side and bluntness made him no favorite in the French court. He had a dislike for Franklin whom he thought to be a libertine. He and Jefferson got along famously and John and his wife Abigail practically adopted the young bachelor from Monticello.

Interwoven throughout the book is Adams’ relationship with his wife Abigail, his beloved. Their letters are the classic love story of American history.

Adams had a tumultuous public life. As a lawyer, it was he who defended the British Red Coats accused in the Boston Massacre. Not because he was a Tory but because he believed that they had been provoked and that they needed a vigorous defense. During his time as Washington’s vice-president, Adams was frozen out of the inner circle by Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton.

When he became president, he helped avert a war with Britain He also famously pushed through the Alien and Sedition Acts. Sort of an early 19th Century Patriot Act. Adams was pro British in mos of his thinking and policies and he hated the French.

I found the book to be a fascinating insight into the life of Adams and the founders in general.

John Adams gets 5 of 5 dis-oriented smileys  ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-) ;-)

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