Chronicles the life of America's second president, including his youth, his career as a Massachusetts farmer and lawyer, his marriage to Abigail, his rivalry with Thomas Jefferson, and his influence on the birth of the United States.
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In addition to being an uncompromising defender of liberty, esteemed diplomat, and successor to George Washington, John Adams was a passionate and prolific writer. Adams biographer John Patrick Diggins gathers an impressive variety of his works in this compact, original volume, including parts of his diary and autobiography, and selections from his rich correspondence with this wife, Abigail, Thomas Jefferson, and others. The Portable John Adams also features his most important political works: “A Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law,” “Thoughts on Government,” “A Defense of Constitutions,” “Novanglus,” and “Discources in Davila.” There is no finer introduction to the protean genius of this seminal American philosopher. For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017 From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy's champion, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England's rising middling classes, painfully aware he was no aristocrat, was a skeptic about popular rule and a defender of a more elitist view of government. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, crafting the Declaration of Independence and leading, with Franklin, the diplomatic effort that brought France into the fight. But ultimately, their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. It was a bitter breach, lasting through the presidential administrations of both men, and beyond. But late in life, something remarkable happened: these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a grudging trickle of correspondence became a great flood, and a friendship was rekindled, over the course of hundreds of letters. In their final years they were the last surviving founding fathers and cherished their role in this mighty young republic as it approached the half century mark in 1826. At last, on the afternoon of July 4th, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration, Adams let out a sigh and said, "At least Jefferson still lives." He died soon thereafter. In fact, a few hours earlier on that same day, far to the south in his home in Monticello, Jefferson died as well. Arguably no relationship in this country's history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America's collective story.
Look for Dan Abrams and David Fisher’s new book, Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby. *NOW A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* “An expert, extremely detailed account of John Adams’ finest hour.”—Kirkus Reviews Honoring the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Massacre The New York Times bestselling author of Lincoln’s Last Trial and host of LivePD Dan Abrams and David Fisher tell the story of a trial that would change history. An eye-opening story of America on the edge of revolution. History remembers John Adams as a Founding Father and our country’s second president. But in the tense years before the American Revolution, he was still just a lawyer, fighting for justice in one of the most explosive murder trials of the era—the Boston Massacre, where five civilians died from shots fired by British soldiers. Drawing on Adams’s own words from the trial transcript, Dan Abrams and David Fisher transport readers to colonial Boston, a city roiling with rebellion, where British military forces and American colonists lived side by side, waiting for the spark that would start a war.
A revealing look at the true beginning of American politics Until recently rescued by David McCullough, John Adams has always been overshadowed by Washington and Jefferson. Volatile, impulsive, irritable, and self-pitying, Adams seemed temperamentally unsuited for the presidency. Yet in many ways he was the perfect successor to Washington in terms of ability, experience, and popularity. Possessed of a far-ranging intelligence, Adams took office amid the birth of the government and multiple crises. As well as maintaining neutrality and regaining peace, his administration created the Department of the Navy, put the army on a surer footing, and left a solvent treasury. One of his shrewdest acts was surely the appointment of moderate Federalist John Marshall as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Though he was a Federalist, Adams sought to work outside the still-forming party system. In the end, this would be his greatest failing and most useful lesson to later leaders. "Diggins's slim volume offers a reconsideration of Adams, a thoughtful study of American politics of the period and Adams's legacy for today. " - Publishers Weekly
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.
Spanning nearly forty years, the letters collected in this volume form the most significant correspondence—and reveal one of the most intriguing and inspiring partnerships—in American history.
Long before the "one percent" became a protest slogan, American founding father John Adams feared the power of a class he called simply "the few"—the wellborn, the beautiful, and especially the rich. In John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy, Luke Mayville explores Adams’s deep concern with the way in which inequality threatens to corrode democracy and empower a small elite. Adams believed that wealth is politically powerful not merely because money buys influence, but also because citizens admire and even identify with the rich. Mayville explores Adams’s theory of wealth and power in the context of his broader concern about social and economic disparities—reflections that promise to illuminate contemporary debates about inequality and its political consequences. He also examines Adams’s ideas about how oligarchy might be countered. A compelling work of intellectual history, John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy has important lessons for today’s world.
This book, a free-standing companion to Bernstein's 2003 biography Thomas Jefferson, responds to the public curiosity about Adams, his life, and his work for those intrigued by popular-culture portrayals of Adams in the Broadway musical 1776 and the HBO television miniseries John Adams. As with Bernstein's other work (e.g., The Founding Fathers: A Very Short Introduction), it is a clear, scholarly, concise, well-written, and well-researchedaccount of Adams's life, career, and thought addressing anyone seeking to learn more about him.