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Kaplan draws on a trove of unpublished archival material to trace Adams's evolution from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his brilliant years as Secretary of State to his time in the White House and beyond. He examines Adams's myriad sides: the public and private man, the statesman and writer, the wise thinker and passionate advocate, the leading abolitionist and fervent federalist who believed strongly in both individual liberty and the government's role as an engine of progress and prosperity. In these ways - and in his energy, empathy, sharp intellect, and powerful gift with words both spoken and written - he was a predecessor of Lincoln and, later, FDR and Obama. Indeed, this sweeping biography makes clear how Adams's forward-thinking values, his definition of leadership, and his vision for the nation's future is as much about 21st-century America as it is about Adams's own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, John Quincy Adams paints a rich portrait of this brilliant leader and his significance to the nation and our own lives.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Jonathan Love on 03-04-16
Destined by birth, mentored by greats...
I've been thoroughly enjoying my series on the founding fathers and although JQA isn't necessarily one of the founders, I found it necessary and natural to follow up David McCullough's book on JQA's father (Previously reading: Washington A Life, and Alexander Hamilton (both by Ron Chernow), Jefferson's War (Wheelan), Washington's Spies (Rose)). What I learned is that despite not technically being a founder, he was in the midst of it all and probably received more diverse mentorship from the founders than anyone else could have based solely off his father bringing him along to Europe.
JQA's experience begins in Europe during the revolution and culminates as a primary catalyst of the inevitable and long foreseen civil war; his was an inimitable place and presence in history.
This book only receives 4 stars because it seemed the author took too much liberty in the introduction with his analysis of JQA. Although he knows far more than me, he set a stage of political partisanship that is resolutely contradicted by his own writing in the book. I only felt this way with the introduction, but again, that set an undesired expectation. Also it seemed as if the author rushed through JQA's presidency preferring to focus on his upbringing (which is vitally important to understanding JQA) and his post presidency (which really cements his legacy). This may be do to the paucity of JQA's own writings at this time as he was extremely busy and also debilitated by old and new injuries to his writing hand.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By LawmanDoug on 03-10-15
Freshly retired 71 yr old lawyer
Fabulous review of the struggles of my nation, most relevant to the current struggles of our Republics decline. What a "stud" he was and what he sacrificed for his country is unsurpassed by the current thieves, cowards and semiliterates in Wash DC today. Doug
3 of 3 people found this review helpful