John Adams Essay

1359 words - 5 pages

David McCullough. John Adams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 656 pp.
David McCullough was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1933, and educated at Yale where he graduated with honors in English literature. McCullough lives in West Tisbury, Massachusetts with his wife, Rosalee Barnes McCullough. They have five children and fifteen grandchildren. He is the author of Truman, Brave Companions, Mornings on Horseback, The Path Between the Seas, The Great Bridge, and the Johnstown Flood. He has received the Pulitzer Prize (in 1993, for Truman), the Francis Parkman Prize, (this award promotes literary distinction in historical writing, and is presented annually for the best book in American history). He has also won the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and is twice winner of the National Book award, for history and biography. 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 few private citizens to be asked to speak before a joint session of Congress. David McCullough has been an editor, essayist, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television- as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and numerous documentaries including The Civil War and Napoleon.
John Adams is a biography about the second president of the United States. McCullough originally set out to write a dual biography of Adams and Jefferson. David McCullough has successfully incorporated the life of Thomas Jefferson into this biography. The idea was to explore their interlocking lives and careers. The two men first met as fellow patriots united in the cause of independence in the mid-1770s. As fellow diplomats in Europe in the 1780s they became close friends. In the 1790s they became political rivals and didn’t speak to each other for more than ten years. They reconciled in their retirement years, and then launched into one of the great exchanges of letters in American history. They died on the same day- July 4th, 1826, fifty years after the Declaration of Independence. Though this began as a dual biography it quickly became an Adams biography. McCullough realized that after a year and one half of research that Adams was in every respect a more fully developed, three-dimensional, warm-blooded, and compelling character than Jefferson. McCullough wants his readers to gain an appreciation of this colorful, and important man who affected how we all live today. McCullough also wants his readers to get the feeling of having been alive in that earlier time, when Adams and Jefferson lived. The author gives the sense that among people today their belief is that our founding fathers were just like us. In many ways that’s true, but in many ways they were also different from us. After reading this book I came away with a far greater understanding of those differences, and a greater measure of respect and admiration for what those men achieved. John Adams...

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