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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)

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  139 Ratings  ·  19 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
ebook, 224 pages
Published June 11th 2003 by Times Books
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Michael Loveless
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 s ...more
Steven Peterson
Oct 01, 2009 Steven Peterson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Dave McMahon
Feb 07, 2013 Dave McMahon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dull, dull, dull. For a President who is touted as being so very important to early American History, I would think this could have been presented in something other than a philosophical dialogue.
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
David Wilkins
Learned a lot about how different things were back in the early days of our country. And how politics weren't that different.
Sean Chick
Aug 12, 2011 Sean Chick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 08, 2014 Katrin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good bio. I enjoyed the discussions of Adams' philosophical writings.
Gary Schantz
Nov 10, 2013 Gary Schantz rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen Thompson
Jan 21, 2016 Karen Thompson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little too much editorializing for my preferences, but still an interesting read.
Apr 11, 2012 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
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!
Mar 07, 2014 Melon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 07, 2011 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
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!
Kirk Bower
Jul 29, 2011 Kirk Bower rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  • Thomas Jefferson (The American Presidents, #3)
  • George Washington (The American Presidents, #1)
  • John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents, #6)
  • Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents, #7)
  • James Madison (American Presidents, #4)
  • James Monroe (The American Presidents, #5)
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  • George H. W. Bush (The American Presidents, #41)
  • Franklin Pierce (The American Presidents, #14)
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Other Books in the Series

The American Presidents (1 - 10 of 41 books)
  • George Washington (The American Presidents, #1)
  • Thomas Jefferson (The American Presidents, #3)
  • James Madison (American Presidents, #4)
  • James Monroe (The American Presidents, #5)
  • John Quincy Adams (The American Presidents, #6)
  • Andrew Jackson (The American Presidents, #7)
  • Martin Van Buren (American Presidents, #8)
  • William Henry Harrison (The American Presidents, #9)
  • John Tyler (The American Presidents, #10)
  • James K. Polk (The American Presidents, #11)

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