In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who thought, wrote, and spoke out for the "Great Cause" come what might, who traveled far and wide in all seasons and often at extreme risk; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was rightly celebrated for his integrity, and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history. Much about John Adam's life will come as a surprise to many. His rocky relationship with friend and eventual archrival Thomas Jefferson, his courageous voyage on the frigate Boston in the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits few would have dared and that few listeners will ever forget. Like his masterful, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Truman, David McCullough's John Adams has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale -- an audiobook about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, it is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
To say that Pittsburgh native, David McCullough, has had an interesting life would be an understatement. He was born in 1933 and is of Scots-Irish descent, and one of four sons. He is self-described as having a "marvelous" childhood. McCullough was interested in many things.......sports, art, books, and history among them. He loved every day of school. He graduated from Yale University where he felt privileged to associate with their great faculty of the likes of John O'Hara, John Heresy and others. He frequently ate lunch with Thornton Wilder, who taught him that a good writer should maintain "an air of freedom" in their writing so that the actual end is never predictable, even in non-fiction.
McCullough enjoyed delving into the research and then doing the writing of a non-fiction book. He studied Art and English, ultimately receiving his degree, with honors, in English literature at Yale (1955). While there, he was a member of Skull and Bones and served valuable apprenticeship with Time, Life, the U.S. Information Agency, and American Heritage.
McCullough has received the Pulitizer Prize for his books on Truman and John Adam's. His other books include: The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, The Wright Brothers, The American Spirit, and his latest, The Pioneers.
McCullough has been a teacher, editor, lecturer, and familiar voice on television. He was the host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, narrator of numerous documentaries such as Ken Burn's The Civil War. His narrative of Seabiscuit, the movie, and the Tom Hanks directed seven-part mini-series, John Adam's were very successful.
McCullough and his wife Rosalee have five children and nineteen grandchildren.......and one great-grandchild! In the words of a citation given with his honorary degree from Yale, "As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breathe, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character".
This is an amazing biography. Reads like a novel. Caused me to think that John Adams should be remembered as The Father of Our Country. Washington won the war but Adams won the peace when the country could not afford a war against France. Adams held out for diplomacy even though Washington and Hamilton were trying to push him into declaring war. Adams was a truly great President and more importantly, a Patriot in the best sense of the word.
David McCullough went above and beyond on this book. I would love to see him do books on Jefferson and Linlcon. He has done John justice and explained why and how this man rose to the level that he did. This is the first book that I have ever given 5 stars to and I would give more if I could.
Couldn't make it through. I'm a lover of history, a lover of historical fiction. Couldn't do it. Also, the other reviewers' comments about the dull reading are 100 dead on.
I'll have to read instead of listen. Not a fan of the reader's voice and style. The thought of listening to that for 24 CD's - whew!