Thursday, February 13, 2014

John Adams, a few thoughts

Thoughts on John Adams by David McCullough:

1. It was difficult for me to get into it, more difficult than for most books. McCullough is an excellent writer, but maybe his style is a little more scholarly than what I usually pick up to relax with. I seem to remember that the same thing happened when I read his 1776. Once I got far enough, the story pulled me along and it was fine.

2. I feel like I learned a tremendous amount of history and will actually remember it pretty well now that I have Adams's life story to pin events to. I didn’t know much about his work in Europe during and after the war, or the strife between political parties during and after his presidency, and now those things are vivid.

3. McCullough uses a ton of original sources and shows Adams’s faults as well as his virtues. Adams himself knew and admitted his faults. But after reading this, I truly admire him. He was honest even when it wasn’t advantageous for him to be. He was brave enough to make hard decisions that he knew would bring criticism. Even though he wasn’t a military man, he fought for his country with the talents he had, and he gave most of his life to his country. It was poignant reading about his final years and his death.

Definitely a book worth reading. I will surely refer to it again, possibly even read it again someday.

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