John Adams: A Life

( 3 )


'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 apolitical courage and stubborn independence.
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John Adams: A Life

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'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 apolitical courage and stubborn independence.
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Editorial Reviews

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
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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780945707141
  • Publisher: American Political Biography Press
  • Publication date: 9/20/1996
  • Series: Signature Series
  • Pages: 535

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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Table of Contents


Part One: Love of Fame
1. Vanity Is My Cardinal Vice
2. Shall I Creep or Fly?
3. To Thine Own Self Be True
4. The Scene of Action

Part Two: An Epocha in History
5. Tea that Bainful Weed
6. Until Our Rights Are Fully Restored
7. We Shall Do Something in Time
8. Oh That I Was a Soldier!
9. A Total Absolute Independence
10. To Leave This Station with Honour

Part Three: Safe and Glorious in the Harbour of Peace
11. A Man of No Consequence
12. My Business Is Peace
13. Thus Drops the Curtain
14. High against America

Part Four: One Man of Inflexible Integrity
15. Much to Be Grateful For
16. An Office of Hard Labor and Severe Duty
17. War Is Inexpedient
18. Thunderstruck
19. The Seeds of Discontent and Division

Part Five: I Still Live and Enjoy Life
20. A Retired Hermetical Life
21. A Heavy Burden to Carry

Select Bibliography

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2000

    Timothy M. Harris, M.A.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2013

    Aside from learning of all the difficulties facing the newly bor

    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!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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