Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Book Review by Jordan

John Adams by David McCullough


Posted on Dec. 29, 2008

John Adams, a book by David McCullough, is a great book to read if you want to understand the truth about our Founding Fathers. When we think of the great men of the early days of America like Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and Adams, we tend to see them as blurry images and we take it for granted that they were the perfect politicians because they were the ones who created the near-perfect political system that we have today. John Adams shows three of the Founding Fathers, namely Adams, Jefferson, and Franklin, as they really were. McCullough tells the tale of Adams from birth to death and brings out the good points as well as the bad. Adams was a good politician and a moral man, but he had his share of problems. During his courting days, he struggled with jealousy and as a result, was refused at his first proposal of marriage. Later on, he married Abigail Quincy. During his life as a politician it was his job, along with Benjamin Franklin, to try to keep peace with France. Although he considered Franklin a genius, he quickly found to his annoyance that he was extremely fond of the pleasures that France had to offer, especially the French ladies. Franklin would openly flirt with women half his age, and in one case played chess with one of his older female admirers while she was in the bath. But any complaints Adams may have had never reached Franklin's ears. For the most part, the book acts as an exposé of the Adamses and Jefferson. In reading this book, you will discover that while in France, Abigail corresponded with a man named James Lovell from time to time, and his letters closely resemble those of an admirer. In one letter, Lovell tells her, as if to spark distrust, not to imagine Adams doing anything in his private hours in Paris other than attending museums. Surely Lovell's wife and children knew that he himself wasn't writing to another man's wife regularly, and enjoying the company of many women in Philadelphia in his own private hours. Also further on into the book, Jefferson gains a rather infamous reputation. He was a man who owned slaves, and thought black people to be inferior, but that (and the fact he was married) did not keep him from having a relationship with one of his black maids, Sally Hemmings, and having several children by her. The Founding Fathers were only human. As for Adams, he struggled with pride throughout his political career. He did not take advice well, and he easily held grudges that lasted for a long time, even against Jefferson, who was Adam's closest friend. Over all, the book serves to show our early politicians as they really were, making it easier to understand our present government. This is a very well-written book I recommend if you want to make the early statesmen more lifelike.



Becky said...

Great review Jordan! Sounds like it was very interesting and filled with info that normally is not brought out. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a great review! He did a wonderful job.

Erma said...

Jordan, this is a very well written book
report. I forsee a "Writer in 'progress'." I love you and am so proud of you!


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