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Chronicles the life of America's second president, including his youth, his career as a Massachusetts farmer and lawyer, his marriage to Abigail, his rivalry with Thomas Jefferson, and his influence on the birth of the United States.
John Ferling has nearly forty years of experience as a historian of early America. The author of acclaimed histories such as A Leap into the Dark and Almost a Miracle, he has appeared on many TV and film documentaries on this pivotal period of our history. In John Adams: A Life, Ferling offers a compelling portrait of one of the giants of the Revolutionary era. Drawing on extensive research, Ferling depicts a reluctant revolutionary, a leader who was deeply troubled by the warfare that he helped to make, and a fiercely independent statesman. The book brings to life an exciting time, an age in which Adams played an important political and intellectual role. Indeed, few were more instrumental in making American independence a reality. He performed yeoman's service in the Continental Congress during the revolution and was a key figure in negotiating the treaty that brought peace following the long War of Independence. He held the highest office in the land and as president he courageously chose to pursue a course that he thought best for the nation, though it was fraught with personal political dangers. Adams emerges here a man full of contradictions. He could be petty and jealous, but also meditative, insightful, and provocative. In private and with friends he could be engagingly witty. He was terribly self-centered, but in his relationship with his wife and children his shortcomings were tempered by a deep, abiding love. John Ferling's masterful John Adams: A Life is a singular biography of the man who succeeded George Washington in the presidency and shepherded the fragile new nation through the most dangerous of times.
Look for Dan Abrams and David Fisher’s new book, Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby. *NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* “An expert, extremely detailed account of John Adams’ finest hour.”—Kirkus Reviews Honoring the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre The New York Times bestselling author of Lincoln’s Last Trial and host of LivePD Dan Abrams and David Fisher tell the story of a trial that would change history. An eye-opening story of America on the edge of revolution. History remembers John Adams as a Founding Father and our country’s second president. But in the tense years before the American Revolution, he was still just a lawyer, fighting for justice in one of the most explosive murder trials of the era—the Boston Massacre, where five civilians died from shots fired by British soldiers. Drawing on Adams’s own words from the trial transcript, Dan Abrams and David Fisher transport readers to colonial Boston, a city roiling with rebellion, where British military forces and American colonists lived side by side, waiting for the spark that would start a war.
Book The Education of John Adams Description/Summary:
""Let us dare to read, think, speak and write...." In 1765, John Adams, a twenty-nine-year-old Massachusetts lawyer, pondered the crisis engulfing Great Britain and its North American colonies. In his view, the dispute's focus was how the British Empire was to be governed under the unwritten English constitution. To address that problem, Adams drafted a pamphlet, "A Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law." He likened Britain's abuse of its authority over the colonists to the enslavement of medieval Europe by kings and lords allied with the Roman Catholic Church. Juxtaposing dangers past and present, he warned that a new tyranny was on the horizon, but, he added, the colonists had means to resist it. Knowledge of American rights under the English constitution, he maintained, would bolster American resistance: "This spirit [of liberty], however, without knowledge, would be little better than a brutal rage. Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge. Let us dare to read, think, speak and write." 1 Adams's exhortation to his readers illuminated his life, his part in the American Revolution, and his role in the evolution of American constitutionalism. In the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers fought in different ways and using different means. Adams marshaled words and arguments in the American revolutionary cause. As lawyer, politician, legislator, constitution-maker, diplomat, and executive, he mobilized legal and historical knowledge for the greater good, drawing on the best of the past to save the future: Let every order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate their resolution. Let them all become attentive to the grounds and principles of government, ecclesiastical and civil. Let us study the law of nature; search into the spirit of the British constitution; read the histories of ancient ages; contemplate the great examples of Greece and Rome; set before us the conduct of our own British ancestors, who have defended for us the inherent rights of mankind against foreign and domestic tyrants and usurpers, against arbitrary kings and cruel priests, in short, against the gates of earth and hell. Adams lived with books at his elbow and a pen in his hand. Insatiably curious about the world around him, he educated himself and sought to teach his contemporaries and posterity what he had learned. These lifelong processes of learning and teaching constitute the education of John Adams. 2 Previous studies of Adams use one of two competing approaches to Adams, neither capturing his life's complexity or significance. Dazzled by his colorful personality, his self-awareness, and his revealing himself on paper, most biographers stress Adams's character, some reducing his constitutional and political advocacy and analysis to mere products of his internal conflicts. 3 The competing biographical school spotlights him as a constitutional and political thinker, rooted in an intellectual tradition extending from Greece and Rome to the Enlightenment - but pushing his nonpolitical life into the background.4 Deciding between character without ideas (reducing Adams to an idiosyncratic volcano but ignoring his intellectual depth) and ideas without character (seeing Adams as a learned intellectual but shortchanging his humanity) is a false choice. Juxtaposing his ideas with his character, this book sets him within intersecting contexts - personal, regional, lawyerly, political, and intellectual - that shaped his vision of the world and of his place in it. 5 Setting Adams in context deepens our understanding of his life's personal dimension. Adams's resentments, explosions of temper, and paroxysms of vanity become more comprehensible when we grasp why he felt and expressed himself that way. His outbursts, voicing his sense of his virtues and failings, had roots in and resonated with his intellectual and cultural contexts. Given, for example, that he and his contemporaries saw fame as this world's just reward for service to the public good, and that his sense of fame resonated with the moral heritage of his Calvinist roots, he had reasons to take personally efforts to denigrate his labors. Those seeking to deny him fame, he thought, were trying to take away what he had earned. By denigrating him, they rejected the worth of his labors and his arguments. 6 His battles with Benjamin Franklin, with Alexander Hamilton, and with Thomas Jefferson were clashes of personality and of principled intellectual disputes about political theory and practice."--
man for the ages. John Adams, philosopher of the Revolution and early America, and participant in many of the major events of that period, strove to fi nd universal patterns in the lives of all men. His life and ideas are as pertinent to our time as they were to his own. We still ponder the nature of the unbreakable bond between liberty and law. As did Adams, we question how to relate the goal of freedom to the authority necessary in political society.
February 21, 1848, the House of Representatives, Washington D.C.: Congressman John Quincy Adams, rising to speak, suddenly collapses at his desk; two days later, he dies in the Speaker’s chamber. The public mourning that followed, writes Paul C. Nagel, “exceeded anything previously seen in America. Forgotten was his failed presidency and his often cold demeanor. It was the memory of an extraordinary human being—one who in his last years had fought heroically for the right of petition and against a war to expand slavery—that drew a grateful people to salute his coffin in the Capitol and to stand by the railroad tracks as his bier was transported from Washington to Boston.” Nagel probes deeply into the psyche of this cantankerous, misanthropic, erudite, hardworking son of a former president whose remarkable career spanned many offices: minister to Holland, Russia, and England, U.S. senator, secretary of state, president of the United States (1825-1829), and, finally, U.S. representative (the only ex-president to serve in the House). On the basis of a thorough study of Adams’ seventy-year diary, among a host of other documents, the author gives us a richer account than we have yet had of JQA’s life—his passionate marriage to Louisa Johnson, his personal tragedies (two sons lost to alcoholism), his brilliant diplomacy, his recurring depression, his exasperating behavior—and shows us why, in the end, only Abraham Lincoln’s death evoked a great out-pouring of national sorrow in nineteenth-century America. We come to see how much Adams disliked politics and hoped for more from life than high office; how he sought distinction in literacy and scientific endeavors, and drew his greatest pleasure from being a poet, critic, translator, essayist, botanist, and professor of oratory at Harvard; how tension between the public and private Adams vexed his life; and how his frustration kept his masked and aloof (and unpopular). Nagel’s great achievement, in this first biography of America’s sixth president in a quarter century, is finally to portray Adams in all his talent and complexity.
Arguably no relationship in this country's history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America's collective story.
John Adams: A Research and Information Guide offers the first comprehensive guide to the musical works and literature of one of the leading American composers of our time. The research guide catalogs and summarizes materials relating to Adams’s work, providing detailed annotated bibliographic entries for both primary and secondary sources. Covering writings by and interviews with Adams, books, journal articles and book chapters, newspaper articles and reviews, dissertations, video recordings, and other sources, the guide also contains a chronology of Adams’s life, a discography, and a list of compositions. Robust indexes enable researchers to easily locate sources by author, composition, or subject. This volume is a major reference tool for all those interested in Adams and his music, and a valuable resource for students and researchers of minimalism, contemporary American music, and twentieth-century music more broadly.
Book John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy Description/Summary:
Long before the "one percent" became a protest slogan, American founding father John Adams feared the power of a class he called simply "the few"—the wellborn, the beautiful, and especially the rich. In John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy, Luke Mayville explores Adams’s deep concern with the way in which inequality threatens to corrode democracy and empower a small elite. Adams believed that wealth is politically powerful not merely because money buys influence, but also because citizens admire and even identify with the rich. Mayville explores Adams’s theory of wealth and power in the context of his broader concern about social and economic disparities—reflections that promise to illuminate contemporary debates about inequality and its political consequences. He also examines Adams’s ideas about how oligarchy might be countered. A compelling work of intellectual history, John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy has important lessons for today’s world.
A thorough, illustrated biography discussing Adams's childhood, his career, his family, and his term as the second president of the United States. Includes a table of contents, time line, phonetic glossary, sources for further research, an index, and detailed captions and sidebars to aid in comprehension.
Book The Problem of Democracy Description/Summary:
"Told with authority and style. . . Crisply summarizing the Adamses' legacy, the authors stress principle over partisanship."--The Wall Street Journal How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy. Until now, no one has properly dissected the intertwined lives of the second and sixth (father and son) presidents. John and John Quincy Adams were brilliant, prickly politicians and arguably the most independently minded among leaders of the founding generation. Distrustful of blind allegiance to a political party, they brought a healthy skepticism of a brand-new system of government to the country's first 50 years. They were unpopular for their fears of the potential for demagoguery lurking in democracy, and--in a twist that predicted the turn of twenty-first century politics--they warned against, but were unable to stop, the seductive appeal of political celebrities Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson. In a bold recasting of the Adamses' historical roles, The Problem of Democracy is a major critique of the ways in which their prophetic warnings have been systematically ignored over the centuries. It's also an intimate family drama that brings out the torment and personal hurt caused by the gritty conduct of early American politics. Burstein and Isenberg make sense of the presidents' somewhat iconoclastic, highly creative engagement with America's political and social realities. By taking the temperature of American democracy, from its heated origins through multiple upheavals, the authors reveal the dangers and weaknesses that have been present since the beginning. They provide a clear-eyed look at a decoy democracy that masks the reality of elite rule while remaining open, since the days of George Washington, to a very undemocratic result in the formation of a cult surrounding the person of an elected leader.
Book The Last American Aristocrat Description/Summary:
A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams—one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to America’s dramatic transition from “colonial” to “modern.” Henry Adams is perhaps the most eclectic, accomplished, and important American writer of his time. His autobiography and modern classic The Education of Henry Adams was widely considered one of the best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. The last member of his distinguished family—after great-grandfather John Adams, and grandfather John Quincy Adams—to gain national attention, he is remembered today as an historian, a political commentator, and a memoirist. Now, historian David Brown sheds light on the brilliant yet under-celebrated life of this major American intellectual. Adams not only lived through the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution but he met Abraham Lincoln, bowed before Queen Victoria, and counted powerful figures, including Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and President Theodore Roosevelt as friends and neighbors. His observations of these men and their policies in his private letters provide a penetrating assessment of Gilded Age America on the cusp of the modern era. The Last American Aristocrat details Adams’s relationships with his wife (Marian “Clover” Hooper) and, following her suicide, Elizabeth Cameron, the young wife of a senator and part of the famous Sherman clan from Ohio. Henry Adams’s letters—thousands of them—demonstrate his struggles with depression, familial expectations, and reconciling with his unwanted widower’s existence. Presenting intimate and insightful details of a fascinating and unusual American life and a new window on nineteenth century US history, The Last American Aristocrat shows us a more “modern” and “human” Henry Adams than ever before.