Thursday, December 1, 2016

Book review: John Quincy Adams: Militant spirit by James Traub

Year published: 2016

Date I finished reading: December 1, 2016

Genre: Biography/history

Rating: A-

Review: John Qunicy Adams is relatively little known.  This is a shame, as he was a remarkable man, as this biography by Traub demonstrates.  He was an easy man to admire but a hard man to love; in one sentence Traub describes him:

Nothing could be more characteristic of Adams than this combination of erudition, ingenuity, hyperbole and spleen.
Adams was stern with everyone, most of all himself.  He was a pessimist and a man who often said that he was not built for happiness and well-suited to drudgery. He endured many tragedies including the death of two children (one as an adult) and a sister.  Several times people he trusted betrayed him.  And he persevered. And when he left the White House, his best years were ahead of him because he made his mark when he became a congressman (yes, after being president) and fought the slaveocracy that ruled the House at the time.

Highly recommended. 

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