Fred Kaplan, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Lincoln, returns with John Quincy Adams, an illuminating biography of one of the most overlooked presidents in American history—a leader of sweeping perspective whose progressive values helped shape the course of the nation.
In this fresh and lively biography rich in literary analysis and new historical detail, Fred Kaplan brings into focus the dramatic life of John Quincy Adams—the little known and much misunderstood sixth president of the United States and the first son of John and Abigail Adams—and persuasively demonstrates how Adams's inspiring, progressive vision guided his life and helped shape the course of America.
Kaplan draws on a trove of unpublished archival material to trace Adams's evolution from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his brilliant years as Secretary of State to his time in the White House and beyond. He examines Adams's myriad sides: the public and private man, the statesman and writer, the wise thinker and passionate advocate, the leading abolitionist and fervent federalist who believed strongly in both individual liberty and the government's role as an engine of progress and prosperity. In these ways—and in his energy, empathy, sharp intellect, and powerful gift with words both spoken and written—he was a predecessor of Lincoln and, later, FDR and Obama. Indeed, this sweeping biography makes clear how Adams's forward-thinking values, his definition of leadership, and his vision for the nation's future is as much about twenty-first century America as it is about Adams's own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, John Quincy Adams paints a rich portrait of this brilliant leader and his significance to the nation and our own lives.
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About the Author
Fred Kaplan is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, which was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times and Washington Post, among other publications. His biography of Thomas Carlyle was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Maine.
Table of Contents
1 Hooks of Steel, 1767-1778 1
2 A European Education, 1778-1783 22
3 Slow Voyage Home, 1783-1787 53
4 Most Beautiful and Beloved, 1787-1794 87
5 Remember Your Characters, 1794-1797 121
6 Begin Anew the World, 1797-1801 149
7 The White Worm, 1801-1804 180
8 Fiery Ordeal, 1805-1808 214
9 Paradise of Fools, 1809-1814 247
10 My Wandering Life, 1814-1817 283
11 The Terrible Sublime, 1817-1821 320
12 The Macbeth Policy, 1821-1825 357
13 No Bed of Roses, 1825-1829 394
14 The Uses of Adversity, 1829-1833 432
15 A Suitable Sphere of Action, 1834-1839 465
16 Adhering to the World, 1838-1843 502
17 The Summit of My Ambition, 1844-1848 536
Bibliographical Essay 575