Monday, May 23, 2011

John Adams - David McCullough

John Adams
By: David McCullough
Published: 2001
Audiobook Read by: Nelson Runger
My rating: Wonderful

After listening to Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, I decided to set out to go through biographies of all or our presidents in chronological order. It is going to be a long process considering the vast number of other books I love to listen to but I think it will be very rewarding as well as greatly educational!

John Adams as president did not seem to be the most popular since he was voted down for a second term. However, his intense love for our country and undying zeal for freedom are a testament of where his heart was.

Adams spent much of his adult life in the service of our country, enduring hardships that would have brought a lesser man to his knees. As a diplomat to foreign countries such as France and Holland, he had to fight not only the view of America as a backwater upstart country with little chance of succeeding, but personal struggles with his health, loneliness, and the feeling of being cut off due to the length of time it took to communicate with home. Despite all the obstacles, he never gave up and was able to produce results wherever he was posted.

Never to be one that let opposition hold him down, he moved into the presidential office prepared for his opponents and ready to deal with the mountains of criticism his decisions would bring. In everything he did, he acted according to his own values and with a clear conscience that what he did was done for his country and not out of any hope for personal gain.

This has been an interesting experience for me. I must admit that I was never much interested in history and therefore did not pay attention in school. I have learned a lot about the founding of our country from these biographies that I should have already known! What has interested me most was seeing the same time period from different perspectives as I have with Washington's biography and now this one. It's the same time with the same activities going on but it looks vastly different through each man's eyes! I am starting to see that I will be getting a very well rounded view of our nation's history as I travel through the stories of each president!

I listened to the audiobook read by Nelson Runger. Nelson did a great job with this and I loved his choice of voice for John Adams. I got a sense of the good natured attitude that John had and could hear the good humor in the voice that Nelson gave him.

Overall, this was a well done biography of John Adams that kept me interested without sacrificing the historical accuracy. If you are looking for an Adams biography, don't hesitate to give this one a try!


  1. Andy if only we had more leaders who "acted according to his own values and with a clear conscience that what he did was done for his country and not out of any hope for personal gain" we would be in much better shape as far as our countries are governed. I believe today that the President or our Prime Minister are merely puppets on a string, I don't believe they make the major decisions, the ones with all the money do and the President is either the hero or the fall guy. Just take Obama for example, he said he was going to do so much and has he done it? I'm not big into politics but from how I view different series of events we could do with a few more good men like Adams from what Adams sounded like from your review of this book.

    Enjoy your day!

  2. Amen Darlene! I was thinking along those lines as well! It is incredible how much the values of our leaders has taken a back seat to greed and selfish gain! And the worst of it is, when someone does try to make a stand for what they believe, they are labeled as fanatics and run out of office! Trust me, I don't put any faith whatsoever in the promises that are made by our politicians these days!! It's a flawed system but it's what we have to deal with. Like you said in one of your posts, as long as we vote we have the right to complain! :)

    You have a great day too! :)

  3. I've had this one the shelf for a while myself and just haven't gotten motivated enough to tackle it. Thanks for the encouragement...sounds good.

  4. That's cool Sam, you were the one who got me to read Ron Chernow's Washington and now I'm encouraging you on this one! :) I've been looking for a good Thomas Jefferson biography but none of them are jumping out of the lists. I haven't seen very many at all in audiobook format either. I'm going to keep looking! :)

  5. I've been reading Ron Chernow's Alexander Hamilton for about two years now. Eventually I'll finish it!

    I really want to read biographies about each President. But I'm thinking I might be better off listening to them instead.