John Adams: The American Presidents Series: The 2nd President, 1797-1801
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John Adams: The American Presidents Series: The 2nd President, 1797-1801 (The American Presidents #2)

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  86 ratings  ·  15 reviews
A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics

Until 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, an...more
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 11th 2003 by Times Books
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Steven Peterson
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 h...more
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 Ameri...more
Corey Murray
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...more
Dave Mcmahon
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...more
Jerry Landry
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...more
Sean Chick
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.
Very good bio. I enjoyed the discussions of Adams' philosophical writings.
Gary Schantz
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.
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.
Andrew Carretto
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!
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.
Michelle Jones Urfer
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.
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.
Thorough and interesting but not too bulky, as is the theme for the series. On to Jefferson!
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