Passionate Sage

  • by Joseph J. Ellis
  • Narrated by Tom Parker
  • 8 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation and its second president, spent nearly the last third of his life in retirement, grappling with contradictory views of his place in history and fearing his reputation would not fare well in the generations after his death. And indeed, future generations did slight him, elevating Jefferson and Madison to lofty heights while Adams remained way back in the second tier. Now, in a witty, clear, and thoughtful narrative of Adams's later life at his home in Quincy, Joseph Ellis explores the mind and personality of the man, as well as the earlier events that shaped his thinking. Listeners will discover Adams to be both contentious and lovable, generous and petty, and perhaps the most intellectually profound of the revolutionary generation, whose perspective on America's prospects has relevance for us today.


What the Critics Say

"His best book....Ellis's knack for bringing historical figures to life seems so natural you can't imagine him doing anything else." (New York Times Book Review)
"Parker narrates this intellectual tour de force with strength and wit. His unvoiced reading matches the text wonderfully. His reading present the complexity of thought clearly." (Kliatt)
"Capture[s] the man's appealing spirit, providing new perspective on an unfairly neglected Founding Father." (Kirkus Reviews)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Stays true to Audible's description

This book is more an analysis and description of the political mind of John Adams, as opposed to a personal biography of the man. This is a recommended read if what you seek is an understanding of how he thought and what his views on the issues were. Factual details are not the emphasis. Diary entries, private correspondence, essays and the voluminous notes he left in the margins of books he read form the basis of Ellis's perspective. The lengthy chapter describing Adams' letter exchange with Thomas Jefferson is riveting, but apart from that I found other chapters to be mostly too dry and academic for my purposes in buying this audiobook. Still, I plodded through it and am glad I did since Adams is among the most admirable of our founding fathers.
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- Neil

The Legacy of John Adams

An indelible portrait of this magnificent Patriot and Founding Father. More than a biography, Ellis gives us a glimpse of the man with all of his foibles and his greatness, of not just what he thought but the core beliefs behind what he thought and what shaped him. And Tom Parker's narration is perfect in every sense. Highly recommended.
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- Chuck B.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-12-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.