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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 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
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
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
Posted April 25, 2000
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.
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Posted March 27, 2013
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!
Posted June 2, 2013
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