John Adams: A Life

John Adams: A Life

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by John Ferling
     
 

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John Ferling has nearly forty years of experience as a historian of early America. The author of acclaimed histories such as A Leap into the Dark and Almost a Miracle, he has appeared on many TV and film documentaries on this pivotal period of our history. In John Adams: A Life, Ferling offers a compelling portrait of one of the giants of the Revolutionary era.

Overview

John Ferling has nearly forty years of experience as a historian of early America. The author of acclaimed histories such as A Leap into the Dark and Almost a Miracle, he has appeared on many TV and film documentaries on this pivotal period of our history. In John Adams: A Life, Ferling offers a compelling portrait of one of the giants of the Revolutionary era.

Drawing on extensive research, Ferling depicts a reluctant revolutionary, a leader who was deeply troubled by the warfare that he helped to make, and a fiercely independent statesman. The book brings to life an exciting time, an age in which Adams played an important political and intellectual role. Indeed, few were more instrumental in making American independence a reality. He performed yeoman's service in the Continental Congress during the revolution and was a key figure in negotiating the treaty that brought peace following the long War of Independence. He held the highest office in the land and as president he courageously chose to pursue a course that he thought best for the nation, though it was fraught with personal political dangers. Adams emerges here a man full of contradictions. He could be petty and jealous, but also meditative, insightful, and provocative. In private and with friends he could be engagingly witty. He was terribly self-centered, but in his relationship with his wife and children his shortcomings were tempered by a deep, abiding love.

John Ferling's masterful John Adams: A Life is a singular biography of the man who succeeded George Washington in the presidency and shepherded the fragile new nation through the most dangerous of times.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Better than any other full-scale biography to date, Ferling's book places Adams in the context of his swirling times and makes clear why he deserves our admiration for his political courage and stubborn independence."—Joseph J. Ellis, The New England Quarterly

"A comprehensive and readable exploration of a fascinating and important statesman, whose life continues to remind us that honesty, integrity, and independence can be political virtues."—William and Mary Quarterly

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Historian Ferling presents the highly eventful life and times of the second president. (June)
Library Journal
John Adams will always fascinate historians, if only because he left so many introspective ruminations. Ferling, the biographer of George Washington ( The First of Men , LJ 8/88) masterfully reinterprets these and other writings. Ferling relies heavily on outstanding recent investigations of Adams's family, especially his wife Abigail. His solid, comprehensive, moving biography sees Adams as a ``one-dimensional man'' who sacrificed his family to a relentless pursuit of recognition and fame. ``America's first great nationalist,'' the self-styled ``John Yankee'' could be petty, vain, self-centered, acerbic, and his social skills were extremely limited. He was not a military leader. But he drove himself with intellect and ambition to the front of the Revolution. Ferling emphasizes Adams's compuslive need for personal sacrifice as a substitute for military service. This is an outstanding biography; Adams will not have to be redone for this generation.-- Harry W. Fritz, Univ. of Montana, Missoula

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195398663
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
02/09/2010
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
517,820
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

John Ferling is the author of nine books and numerous articles on the American Revolution and early American wars, and has appeared in four television documentaries devoted to the Revolution and the War of Independence. His book A Leap in the Dark won the Fraunces Tavern Book Award as the year's best book on the American Revolution and Almost a Miracle was named the New York American Revolution Round Table Best Book of 2007. He lives in metropolitan Atlanta.

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John Adams 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Adams: A Life is an excellent one- volume biography of our second president. Ferling attempts to understand both the public and private Adams, hence making this study even more valuable. Adams's relation with his wife and family is highlighted. Abigail's grief and loneliness during the frequent absences of her husband is masterfully crafted within the narrative. Ferling portrays the very human side of Adams, his weaknesses, his burning desire to succeed, and his terrible personal loss of two children. Well researched and powerfully written, Ferling's biography of John Adams is well worth reading. The only negatives are the many misspelled words which interrupt the narrative flow. In addition, Ferling does not spend, in my opinion, adequate time discussing the post presidential life of Adams. This period is glossed over and leaves the reader seeking more information. Despite this, Ferling's book is a moving account of this most misunderstood founding father. An excellent book. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Adams was great through his service to others good and honest book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
rcbn More than 1 year ago
Aside from learning of all the difficulties facing the newly born United States of America; the debates which were as difficult and dangerous for those living in that period, as our debates are today, we learn of the intimate thoughts of  John Adams. We are fortunate to learn of his personality, personal doubts, family problems and great achievements due to a great extent to his having kept profuse notes of his daily life and correspondence. Other figures in history generally don't leave behind such a treasure trove of this kind of information. Therefore, many readers can identify, personally with him. My heartfelt gratitude to Mr. John Ferling, the author, for an incredible book!