This is the fifth full or partial biography of John Quincy Adams that I have read. I find him one of the most fascinating singular personalities in thThis is the fifth full or partial biography of John Quincy Adams that I have read. I find him one of the most fascinating singular personalities in the history of our nation. In reading Levin's book, it is critical to read the full title: "The Remarkable Education of John Quincy Adams." This is not a full biography. That takes something like 40-some odd volumes. Each writer/researcher/reader of his extensive journal and writings must pick and choose what items of interest they wish to share with their readers. For this reason, some readers are bound to be disappointed, because so much must always be left out.
The education and formative years of John Quincy (and, I especially liked her use of that reference, unlike an earlier reviewer!) made an excellent selection for Levin's focus. It was indeed remarkable. His overseas experience from a very young age, repeated while still a young man, created one of the, if not the, greatest diplomats in our country's history. Yet, he was able to retain the strength of character and devotion to public service to his home country that he got from his father, and mother, to reach the highest offices of the land, without need to compromise his principals. His rise over and above party (in their founding years) is still simply remarkable.
I learned many details of John Quincy's education in this book that I had not read before, so I consider it a success. I have recently read a full biography of Louisa Catherine, his wife, as well, so inclusion of many stories of their relationship made this read especially enjoyable. They did not always have a happy life, but there can be no doubt of their total devotion to each other and to their role of public service to the country. If only that were more prevalent today, in more of our modern political life.
Levin did well what she set out to do. For that, I give her my highest commendation....more
Each of the stories is a good read, but the story about Leah Smalls, “The Widow Small,” is the one that I enjoyed the most. As an older person, the th Each of the stories is a good read, but the story about Leah Smalls, “The Widow Small,” is the one that I enjoyed the most. As an older person, the thoughts she processes are much like my wife and I have discussed, many times, should one or the other of us “go first.” Real-life experiences on the ranch are what I enjoy reading, along with the relationships among family members. These relationships are always filled with surprised, even though from experience we should know what to expect from these people. However, in these circumstances, when you hope they will act in your best interest, is when they act most in their self-interest - as is the case with the brothers-in-law, here. This is so very familiar… and presented in just the right tone and spirit through the story.
The addition of the Julian character adds immensely to this story, and makes it truly special. The added dimensions through her relationship with him makes this story a real winner. I can only say “Thank you” for sharing these stories with us! ;-)...more
I really wanted to read this book because I have become a real fan of The Golf Channel as well as ESPN. I have also found that biographies can be veryI really wanted to read this book because I have become a real fan of The Golf Channel as well as ESPN. I have also found that biographies can be very interesting, and the broadcasting industry is of special interest. Generally, I was very pleased with my reading of this book. It was everything I hoped it would be. Keith grew up the son of a local TV broadcasting executive, and was steeped in the inner workings of the industry his entire life. This up-bringing permeates every day of his life.
I highly recommend this book to you if you have similar interests. His specific recall of the details of producing golf tournaments around the world were especially fascinating to me, and kept me reading at a pleasant rate. I recognized names of many folks and was able to recall many events he produced as a viewer, myself.
I understand he felt it was necessary to mention the Kelly Tilghman incident and his feelings about the new Comcast management at The Golf Channel, but both of these passages in the text made me feel very uncomfortable and I would have preferred if he had left them out or handled them differently. I liked the other 98% of the text very much.
I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I did....more
I just finished reading Dead or Alive in paperback by Michael McGarrity, the 12th in The Kevin Kerney Novel series. I've read them all, over the yearsI just finished reading Dead or Alive in paperback by Michael McGarrity, the 12th in The Kevin Kerney Novel series. I've read them all, over the years. As Tony Hillerman, since deceased, is quoted on the back cover, "How good it is to follow a detective created by a man who has been there and done that." Over the years, Kerney, the lead character has held numerous New Mexico law enforcement positions, which has made the series especially interesting. He is now in semi-retirement (my description) with a wife and young son.
The Kearney family is in London, where Sara is a career Army officer on her last assignment before retirement back to their New Mexico ranch. When word reaches Kevin Kearney that his ranch manager/horse business partner has been gunned down at the ranch, it brings him back in search of a psychotic murderer with a growing appetite for blood. He is joined in the search by his half-Apache adult son, Lieutenant Clayton Istee of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department. The chase covers broad sections of northeast New Mexico and eventually brings grueling mountain treks leading to a satisfying climax.
A western setting for the police procedural murder mystery offers all any one who like this genre could ask. It reads well, being written by someone who know of what he writes... and really enjoys it! A five star recommendation....more
Take a horseback ride with your dog along the trails near Oak Springs, a fictional town in the southern Missouri Ozarks. Birds sing along the way, andTake a horseback ride with your dog along the trails near Oak Springs, a fictional town in the southern Missouri Ozarks. Birds sing along the way, and you will enjoy a character driven family saga that will draw you in to want to know this family better. They appreciate their family relationships, though sometimes rocky, and study their family history. We invite you to come along with us. The blog leads the way. 'Back to the Homeplace' gets you started, in 1987. Available as an ebook for Kindle or in hardback from Amazon. 'The Homeplace Revisited' will arrive in a month or so, set in 1996. It updates the Bevins Family Trust and focuses on the next generation: Christopher, Jennifer and Matt. Join us! ;-)
This is an excellent biography of very “famous” person very few of us know very much about – except for Fort Knox, named for him, of course. He was aThis is an excellent biography of very “famous” person very few of us know very much about – except for Fort Knox, named for him, of course. He was a young Boston bookseller, self-taught in artillery and military tactics from reading books, who was at the side of General George Washington from the opening of the Revolutionary War in Boston to the final battle in Yorktown – actively participating in each. He was responsible to plan and execute the crossing of the Delaware for the successful Battle of Trenton. After the war, he served as Secretary of War under the Articles of Confederation – all the while working for a new Constitution. He was the first Secretary of War under the new Constitution in President Washington’s cabinet along with Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and Edmond Randolph. He began the formation of the U.S. Navy which was completed under President John Adams. Knox proposed the creation of the United States Military Academy at West Point… which occurred a few years later, essentially following his plan. He died prematurely in his mid-fifties, accidentally. If you find this biography as interesting as I did, you might also like the biography of Nathanael Greene, another of the young men in General Washington’s inner circle throughout the Revolutionary War (who also died far too young, after the war!): Washington’s General: Nathanael Greene and the Triumph of the American Revolution by Terry Golway. ...more
I have enjoyed reading and seeing Howard Fineman for many years in Newsweek and on MSNBC and others. So, I was pleased to check out his first book: ThI have enjoyed reading and seeing Howard Fineman for many years in Newsweek and on MSNBC and others. So, I was pleased to check out his first book: The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring debates that define and inspire our country. I was not disappointed. The basic premise of the book, as I see it, is that the whole American experience is based on a series of arguments, with much participation and involvement in the debates, with different sides of the essential arguments, through the years addressing the issues of the day. Who is a person? What is an American? How much power should reside in the Presidency? Are we for international trade or not? What is the role of faith? Who judges the law? What are the limits of individualism? What can we know and say? What about debt?
Each argument is well researched, with examples from the founding of our nation up to the current time, including the current presidential election campaign. Fineman has been a political reporter since the 1970s. His personal insights into particular events that he has covered are especially useful. He developed the concepts of “the arguments” from his political reporting. He urges each of us to insist that the debates continue, in an open manner, in order to preserve our way of life and government. Open debate of the various arguments is what moves the country forward; and, will move us beyond the current partisanship that tends to stifle debate and communications between the various sides of the important arguments of today.
I fear the “thirteen” may be a little arbitrary as a marketing ploy, but, overall, this is a book I would recommend to anyone – but, especially to those who care and understand what is going on in our country at this point in our history. It is also a relative easy read. I’m happy to say this about a book of substance....more
I picked up this book as an impulse buy Noble from the “Books for Grads” table as I was checking out of Barnes & Noble last month. The fact that MI picked up this book as an impulse buy Noble from the “Books for Grads” table as I was checking out of Barnes & Noble last month. The fact that Mapp has done the research from original writings for each of the founders he discusses, and bases his conclusions on this information made the book a worthwhile read for me. I have read a least one biography on most of the founders he discusses; several on some of them. It is my opinion that his conclusions are right on target. And, it is an easy read, also a plus. ...more
Very well researched and written. Easy and pleasant to read. I felt that the main character was Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams. Her writings, and writVery well researched and written. Easy and pleasant to read. I felt that the main character was Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams. Her writings, and writings about her, added fresh insights into the historical period covered, from the John Adams to the John Quincy Adams administrations.
To a certain extent, the amount of coverage of each lady correlated with the amount of written material available about/by them from which to draw. Abigail Adams has a wealth of materials. Her daughter-in-law is even more interesting, in my view....more
Steven Johnson places Joseph Priestley well in his time as well as in the intellectual development science (natural philosophy), faith (a founder of tSteven Johnson places Joseph Priestley well in his time as well as in the intellectual development science (natural philosophy), faith (a founder of the Unitarian Church), and political theory (interactions with Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson) coming out of the Age of Enlightenment. His multi-disciplinary approach laid the groundwork for ecosystem theories in today's science even though his experiments were as an "amateur." Finally, the end of the story regarding how the Jeffereson-Priestley letters had such a profound influence on the later Adams-Jefferson infamous correspondence exchanges was fascinating....more
A bit ploddy, and full of stats, but a very job of doing what he said his intent was: tell about the world of Abraham Lincoln from his birth to the CiA bit ploddy, and full of stats, but a very job of doing what he said his intent was: tell about the world of Abraham Lincoln from his birth to the Civil War. He really did this well, in terms of demographics, politics and the social environment. I got out of it what I hoped to. Guess that is a pretty good result. This is the very same time period as the lives of a set of my third great grandparents, whom I may wish to write about in the future. Crump provides a great reference to use, should I follow through on that desire....more
War on the Run by John F. Ross is subtitled "the epic story of Robert Rogers" - I would suggest it is really "the tragic story of Robert Rogers." ThisWar on the Run by John F. Ross is subtitled "the epic story of Robert Rogers" - I would suggest it is really "the tragic story of Robert Rogers." This terrific biography of Robert Rogers ably demonstrates his enormous contributions to the British American cause in the French and Indian War. His relationships with a large number of American Indian tribes and his adaptation of the war tactics they used to create the first American based ranger units are the heart of the story. Unfortunately, these crucial exploits, and some poor judgments, also put him at odds with first the British military command and, later, the American Colonial officials. He ended up on the British side in the American Revolution, including capturing Nathan Hale. His meeting with American Military Commander George Washington at a critical turning point is especially telling about the conduct of war in the period. Class differences were very real, at the time, which we often forget or overlook, today. ...more
As an amateur historian and genealogist myself, I found the premise for this book extremely of interest. Hinger uses this background very well to weavAs an amateur historian and genealogist myself, I found the premise for this book extremely of interest. Hinger uses this background very well to weave two family stories over multiple generations into a current time murder mystery with several worthy twists. While I don't care, personally, for the extreme physical "capture" of the murderer, it fits the genre well. The story is set in a fictional western Kansas county, but very obviously based clearly on the culture of that place and time. She has edited hundreds of family histories contributed to county history books. This background research serves her well in this book. A good, easy read. ...more
Outstanding debut novel... I am really looking forward to Seeds of Summer next spring. All of the elements of a Romance Novel are covered with the skiOutstanding debut novel... I am really looking forward to Seeds of Summer next spring. All of the elements of a Romance Novel are covered with the skill of an experienced writer. The Kansas Flint Hills characters are very real; expertly portrayed. I did oral histories with a number of folks just like John McCray a few years ago.... This portrayal is "right on." The emotions are correct, the physical attributes are described accurately. Using the character Jake to talk to Gil to get at the final twist was an astute move by the author. The Christian elements were nicely integrated at just the right times, throughout the book. Congratulations to a fine first novelist! ;-)...more