Sunday, December 04, 2011
John Adams by David McCullough
Posted by JaneGS
It seems like I've spent most of 2011 reading this book. Checking back on Good Reads, I find that I added it to my reading stack in April, shortly after I finished the wonderful bio of George Washington by Ron Chernow. I liked McCullough's bio of Adams even more. Superbly written, endlessly interesting, I savored the book and am glad that I read it slowly, getting to know Adams and his remarkable wife, Abigail, over the stretch of many months.
I learned so much about the Adams family, the Revolution and the formation of the United States, the growth of the two-party system, international relations (especially the vacillating relationships with both France and Britain), and life in the late 18th century.
I used to have an extreme bias towards Jefferson, and then I read bios of Hamilton and Washington, which cast him in a much different and less flattering light. I really loved reading about Adams's very complicated relationship with Jefferson, from their days as Revolutionaries to their friendship as fellow ambassadors just after the Revolution to their falling out and political rivalry to their final correspondence in old age. The wonderful thing about reading is having your views shift and mature and develop, and this book altered again my view of Jefferson.
Finally, I absolutely adore Abigail Adams. I am so looking forward First Family: Abigail and John Adams. She was everything admirable--smart, loyal, charming, witty, strong, dependable, loving, and sincere. It is a credit to John Adams that he found and married and made happy such a wife.
Now it's time to rewatch the marvelous HBO mini-series starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. It is based on McCullough's bio and I loved it so much a few years ago when I watched it. I also really want to visit the Adams National Historical Park--I just discovered it doesn't open for the season until April 19, which is unfortunate because I was hoping to go to the Boston area for Spring Break this year.