Ken Bronsil's Reviews > John Adams

John Adams by David McCullough
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's review
Oct 23, 2011

it was amazing
Read in October, 2011

It took me a while to get through this book because it's remarkably thorough. However, the detail does what it's supposed to do--fill in the human side of a character I really didn't know at all, except for lists of Presidents. McCullough had plenty of primary sources to work from: Both John and Abigail Adams kept journals for decades; hundreds of letters have survived. A lot of contemporaries also journaled.

Two story threads stood out for me:

***The ongoing stories of John and Abigail's children, some of those stories heartbreaking.

***The mercurial relationship between Adams and Thomas Jefferson: different backgrounds, different beliefs, each man tenacious in their beliefs, but still the best of friends. Often. But not always. In later life there was a strong wedge between the two. Benjamin Rush, a friend to both, worked tirelessly to have them make peace. Finally, Adams told Rush he was willing to forgive and forget. Rush wrote back: "I consider you and him as the North and South Poles of the American Revolution. Some talked, some wrote, and some fought to promote and establish it, but you and Mr. Jefferson thought for us all."

To top it all off, the amazing coincidence of their deaths. If Hollywood wrote this, we wouldn't believe it.

A wonderful read!

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