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John Adamsby David McCullough
2002 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
Synopses & Reviews
David McCullough is our most dependable presidential biographer. Each of his efforts has been a resounding success, combining popular appeal with literary accolades. Mornings on Horseback, about Teddy Roosevelt, won the National Book Award, his second. For Truman, he received a Pulitzer Prize. Both were national bestsellers. For his next project, he decided to modify the formula and write about two presidents whose relationship influenced and illuminated American history. As collaborators, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson created the Declaration of Independence. As rivals — enemies, really — they came to represent the warring political factions that divided the young nation. By the end of their lives, though, these two great men had repaired their friendship, and in a fantastic coincidence died on the same date, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. While this seems an irresistible setup for a historian with McCullough's narrative gifts, in the end he gave it up. As McCullough immersed himself in his two subjects, he found himself increasingly drawn to Adams at the expense of his more famous colleague and narrowed his focus. In Adams, McCullough found another exemplar of his favorite subject, a man, like Harry Truman and Theodore Roosevelt, who overcame remarkable disadvantages to achieve greatness. With John Adams, which earned McCullough his second Pulitzer Prize in a row, he may have achieved his own measure of greatness. Farley, Powells.com
The Pulitzer Prizeand#8211;winning, bestselling biography of Americaand#8217;s founding father and second president that was the basis for the acclaimed HBO series, brilliantly told by master historian David McCullough.andlt;BRandgt;andlt;BRandgt;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 rose to become the second president of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was learned beyond all but a few and regarded by some as and#8220;out of his sensesand#8221;; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;This is history on a grand scaleand#8212;a book 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, andlt;Iandgt;John Adamsandlt;/Iandgt; is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.
"[A] wonderfully stirring biography; to read it is to feel as if you are witnessing the birth of a country firsthand." Booklist
"This life of Adams is an extraordinary portrait of an extraordinary man....This excellent biography deserves a wide audience." Library Journal
"Despite the whopping length, there's not a wasted word in this superb, swiftly moving narrative, which brings new and overdue honor to a Founding Father." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
David McCullough has been called a "master of the art of narrative history." His books have been praised for their exceptional narrative sweep, their scholarship and insight into American life, and for their literary distinction.
In the words of the citation accompanying his honorary degree from Yale, "As an historian, he paints with words, giving us pictures of the American people that live, breath, and above all, confront the fundamental issues of courage, achievement, and moral character."
Author of 1776, John Adams, Truman, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, and Brave Companions, he has received the Pulitzer Prize twice (in 1993, for Truman, and, in 2001, for John Adams), the Francis Parkman Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and has twice won the National Book Award.
For his work overall he has been honored by the National Book Foundation Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award, the National Humanities Medal, the St. Louis Literary Award, the Carl Sandburg Award, and the New York Public Library's Literary Lion Award. None of his books has ever been out of print.
In a crowded, productive career, Mr. McCullough has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television — as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and narrator of numerous documentaries including The Civil War and Napoleon. He is a past president of the Society of American Historians. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has received 31 honorary degrees.
A gifted speaker, Mr. McCullough has lectured in all parts of the country and abroad, as well as at the White House, as part of the White House presidential lecture series. He is also one of the few private citizens to be asked to speak before a joint session of Congress.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, Mr. McCullough was educated there and at Yale, where he was graduated with honors in English literature. An avid reader, traveler, and landscape painter, he lives in West Tisbury, Massachusetts, with his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough. They have five children and 15 grandchildren.
Table of Contents
Part I: Revolution
CHAPTER ONE: The Road to Philadelphia
CHAPTER TWO: True Blue
CHAPTER THREE: Colossus of Independence
Part II: Distant Shores
CHAPTER FOUR: Appointment to France
CHAPTER FIVE: Unalterably Determined
CHAPTER SIX: Abigail in Paris
CHAPTER SEVEN: London
Part III: Independence Forever
CHAPTER EIGHT: Heir Apparent
CHAPTER NINE: Old Oak
CHAPTER TEN: Statesman
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Rejoice Ever More
CHAPTER TWELVE: Journey's End
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