John Adams

John Adams A revealing look at the true beginning of American politicsUntil recently rescued by David McCullough John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson Volatile impulsive irritabl

  • Title: John Adams
  • Author: John Patrick Diggins Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
  • ISBN: 9780805069372
  • Page: 259
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A revealing look at the true beginning of American politicsUntil recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, anA revealing look at the true beginning of American politicsUntil recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity.Possessed of a far ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises Besides maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.Though he was a Federalist, he sought to work outside the still forming party system In the end, this would be Adams s greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders.

    358 Comment

    • BillKerwin says:

      This may be a good book, but it certainly didn’t give me what I wanted. Not knowing much about the Adams presidency, a wanted a biography that was: 1) brief, 2) concentrated on the principal events of Adams life, with a particular emphasis on the presidency, and 3) would give me a few ideas and interpretations that would help me understand Adams place in American history. I’ll say this much for it: it was brief. But it gave me far too many ideas, often interrupting the narrative to do so, un [...]

    • Robin Friedman says:

      America's Philosopher PresidentJohn Adams (1735 --1826) was rescued from relative obsurity by David McCullough's popular and accessible biography. Engaging as it is, McCullough's work has little on the thought and writings of John Adams and on the impact of his thinking on American government and on Adams's own presidency. John Patrick Diggins's short biography, written as part of the American Presidents series, helps remedy this lack. It provides a deeper picture of an American political philos [...]

    • Steven Peterson says:

      Personally, I prefer more detailed biographies of historical figures as opposed to briefer ones. Hence, I really appreciated McCullough’s detailed work on John Adams. Nonetheless, Diggins' book is a worthwhile addition to one's library. Especially for those who want a briefer, accessible biography, the Diggins' book would be a good investment.First, unlike most books in The American Presidents series, there is considerable emphasis on the ideas of John Adams. This is most important, given that [...]

    • Russell Ewell says:

      Reading this volume on John Adams before the volume on Thomas Jefferson made me view Jefferson more harshly. The integrity of John Adams, his marriage, and his family each make his character shine forth brilliantly. This shine dulls Jefferson especially with regard to their positions on slavery.Something I noticed in reading this volume is if Thomas Jefferson had a wife like Abigail Adams he would have traveled a very different path. The tragedy of Jefferson in this area regarding family and mar [...]

    • Laura Hoyler says:

      I pushed myself to get through this book. I loved the first in the American President series, so this was a little disappointing. Maybe John Adams is just not as exciting as Washington! I actually used it as an example with my students on how sometimes you can abandon a bookI DID finish but forced myself. On to Thomas Jefferson, and knowing what I know already about him, I KNOW it will be a better read!!!

    • Gary Schantz says:

      The books glosses over John Adams entire personal life with the exception of his youth.I basically found this book to be one long essay on comparative theories between many of the founding fathers as well as other figures of the Revolutionary War era.It might as well have been titled "Revolutionary Arguments" as it doesn't touch on much more than everyone's opinion of themselves and their peers or enemies.

    • Rachel says:

      A good overview of the political philosophy of an under-appreciated president, suitable for the decently-informed layman and the well-informed historian alike. Diggins attempts neither to bludgeon the reader with his intellect nor to condescendingly simplify Adams' own occasionally convoluted reflections. While this short biography deals mainly with Adams' political career after the war, it does find time to pepper in details about his earlier life in a rather non-linear fashion which might prov [...]

    • Daniel says:

      It is easy to tell that John Patrick Diggins really likes John Adams, and he manages to make you really like John Adams too, assuming you are predisposed to be the type of balanced moderate that Diggins presents Adams as. He also really seems to think that Thomas Jefferson was quite ridiculous. Because the author's feelings are so clear in his writing, it is difficult to tell for certain how much this account is affected by bias and how much it is really an accurate painting of our second presid [...]

    • Sarah says:

      The American Presidents series is really growing on me. It's scholarly and engaging, but short enough that I don't feel daunted by the sheer size of each title. It's almost like reading a long scholarly essay. I had to go back and listen to parts of this title a few times because there were just so many ideas packed into such a small space.Diggins totally won me to the argument that John Adams is under appreciated among Presidents. I was already leaning that way after reading David McCullough's [...]

    • Fred Kohn says:

      This book made me wish that I began at the beginning of the series. I actually read more than half the series before getting to Washington followed by Adams. Like the book on Washington, I chose to give this book 5 stars. Also like the book on Washington, the book contains a lot of commentary about political philosophy, which may trouble those who are wanting details of Adam's presidency. I was a little surprised at the author's opinion of Jefferson: he has virtually nothing good to say about hi [...]

    • Mike says:

      Obviously Biased but well doneThe author was obviously biased in regards to the Adams and Jefferson conflict, as well as Adams time as president, however you can't deny how important Adams was to the revolution and the founding of America.Adams wanting to install Plato's idea of an aristocracy is nice on paper, but so are all centralized forms of government.Either way, good take on his life and presidency, just make sure you recognise when the author is defending as opposed to educating.

    • Linda says:

      A brief biography of John Adams, which focuses less on the details of Adams' private life, and more on his philosophy of government, and his differences with Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. Average, and just a little bit boring if one does not particularly care about 18th-century politics.

    • Elyzabeth Schneider says:

      It’s a good overview of the life of John Adams. It does seem to skip around a little bit on the dates but over all it’s a good overview—-I would read a full biography in addition to this one while a biography adds details of how Adams reacts to people this book dove into his thoughts and philosophies but the two go hand in hand nicely.It does mention Jefferson quite a bit for a John Adams Bio.

    • James P says:

      A third of the book is on political theory and is a little dense in a volume this size. Does a good job of defending Adams as a political theorist and explaining why his presidency is viewed by many as a failure. Good complement to Appleby's Jefferson, also in the series. Would recommend it.

    • Zach Koenig says:

      Over the past few years, thanks to a TV docu-drama bearing his name, our nation's second President, John Adams, has gotten quite a bit of press after years of playing second-fiddle (at least in public perception) to names like Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin. This book only adds to that new-found sense of legacy for Mr. Adams by giving a very clear and concise picture/assessment of his time in office.The author mostly focuses on how Adam's political philosophy differed so radically from his [...]

    • Bookboy says:

      Second President of the United States, two-time Vice-President under George Washington, John Adams was long reviled and overshadowed in history. Rescued, as it were, from those shadows by an extensive biography by David McCullough, here in the American Presidents’ Series, John Adams is portrayed as volatile, impulsive, and yet also highly intelligence and shrewd. Following George Washington into the Presidency in 1797, John Adams was forced to deal with a complex international situation as Ame [...]

    • Gregory says:

      Good assessment of Adams's political theories and how they served him well and failed him badly.

    • Corey Murray says:

      Before David McCullough came along, John Adams had languished, if not in obscurity, then at least in the upper balcony of the Revolutionary era. Overshadowed by both his predesessor George Washington and his successor Thomas Jefferson, Adams had never really achieved the recognition of his contemporaries. (And if he were alive today, he may very well complain about it as he did back then.) McCullough's book was a bestseller; it won the Pulitzer Prize and spawned a successful TV miniseries. It br [...]

    • Roger says:

      This is the most academic audiobook I've read. I hope the rest of this four-president series is more like the George Washington book and less like this one.The writer demonstrates that dirty party political tricks have been a part of America from the start. That's vaguely reassuring, ironically. More satisfying is knowing John Adams was the last person from his political party ever to be president; that gives me hope George W. Bush might be the same. I loved the story of the American mate whose [...]

    • Michael Loveless says:

      The book was a brief biography with an emphasis on Adams political views and his contributions to America. The author emphasized the unique place Adams held politically between Jefferson and Hamilton. Jefferson believed in the wisdom of the people and their right to political power. Hamilton believed in the aristocracy and rule by the best and brightest. Adams believed in the Constitution and the power of a strong executive to arbitrate between the competing interests. This is why some people sa [...]

    • Dave McMahon says:

      This somewhat short reading constitutes a nice introduction to the political thought and accomplishment of John Adams, 2nd President of the United States. The text focus largely on his political philosophy and its implementation through is years during the Revolution as Vice-President and as President.Interesting passages about Thomas Jefferson, of whom a more dark figure is drawn, which is somewhat normal considering the bitter political opposition between the two men.The reader will find "John [...]

    • Jerry Landry says:

      By far the best book I've read in the series thus far. Diggins, instead of taking the route of writing a traditional biography, instead examines more of Adams's political theories and how they influenced his presidency, whether for good or ill. I rather think that this is how Adams would have wanted his biography to have been done. My only complaint (and it was near the end before I found anything to complain about) was that Diggins got the date of Abigail's death wrong. Something to be aware of [...]

    • Andrew Carretto says:

      I couldn't commit to the David McCullogh book on John Adams, so I read this one. John Adams is almost unheard of in today's society but our government today is largely based on his thoughts and actions as the 2nd president of the United States. This was a book for a smart person (of which I am not) in that he uses a lot of complex words but the overall theme was good. Very interesting president!

    • Sean Chick says:

      Not perfect but very good. Diggins makes great observations and really gets at the ideas of Adams and his opponents. Trouble is to Diggins Adams can do little wrong for the most part and Jefferson can do little right. Also he seems confused about politics during this time, unable to decide if it was truly divisive or more a politics of consensus at heart. Nonetheless, this is a great defense of a great but too often ignored man and Diggins offers tough questions and shrewd observations.

    • Deborah says:

      I enjoyed this book very much. I have read several books about Adams including McCollough's book. This one is different. Instead of just discussing Adam's like and work, Diggins discusses his political theories. He also shows the foresight that Adams had. The book ends with a discussion of the differences and similarities between Adams and Jefferson. I found this book to be unique and enlightening.

    • Blaine says:

      As someone new to US presidential history, this book was a very difficult read. Diggins is very redundant from chapter to chapter and many times drifts away on topics not directly associated with Adams (Jeffersonian theories, etc.). Adams was a philosophical thinker, and when Diggins uses his own philosophical ideas to explain Adams', it can be a bit much. Maybe I should have started out with something a bit easier to read before diving into this heavy read.

    • Michelle Jones Urfer says:

      This book was informative, but very wordy and sometimes rather pompous-sounding. It was not an easy read (nor was it a particularly enjoyable one.) I really like this presidential series, but this was not one of the better books in the set. I doubt I'll ever re-read it.

    • Janet says:

      Before I started reading this book, I hated John Adams. Couldn't stand the thought of him. After reading this book, I found myself liking Adams, and appreciating his contribution to this country. This was a good, short, concise, enlightening biography.

    • Melon says:

      I wish I could rate half stars because I would give it 3 and 1/2. It was an interesting read and I learned alot. The author jumped back and forth between time frames of John Adams life so I think the book would read more cohesively if it had not been for that.

    • Josh Charvat says:

      Confusing at times due to its jumping around of the time line and focus on other Preside ts

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