Wednesday, July 9, 2014

John Quincy Adams: American Visionary


Today’s nonfiction post is on John Quincy Adams: American Visionary by Fred Kaplan. It is 673 pages long and is published by HarperCollins. The cover has a picture of Adams on it looking very dignified. There is no strong language, no sex, and no violence in this book. But it is written in a very scholarly tone so I think that older teens and adults are going to enjoy this book the most. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- 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Kaplan draws on a trove of unpublished archival material to trace Adam’s evolution from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his brilliant years as secretary of state to his time in the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 this ways- and in his energy, empathy, sharp intellect, and powerful gift with words both spoken and written- Adams was a predecessor Lincoln and , later, FDR and Obama. 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 must about twenty-first century American as it is about Adams’s own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, American Visionary paints a rich portrait of the brilliant leader and his significance to the nation and our own lives.

Review- I did enjoy this biography but it is not easy to read; it is 672 pages long and only 17 chapters. It is very scholarly and very in-depth to the subject. I knew very little about Quincy Adams before this book and now I like our sixth president. Much of Kaplan’s resources are letters and dairy entrees from Quincy Adams himself so I feel that I have a good idea about how the man really was. Kaplan’s’ writing style is readable but the subject is very intense. Kaplan gives a full account of Quincy Adams life from birth to death. He gives full essays that Quincy Adams wrote; gives full length poetry and dairy entrees. Those touches give this biography something very special and genuine. My only complaint is that it is only 17 chapters. When you sit down to read it you are going to be there awhile so I had to make sure that I had everything that needed to be done before I sat down with this book. I do recommend it and I did enjoy it very much.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.