NOTICE: (Updated March 5, 2010)

Beginning December 19, 2009, Books 'N Border Collies will be posting but only intermittently while I pursue personal goals. I plan to share some reading I'm doing, but there will be no reviews. I will, however, be sharing my exploration of vegetarian cooking and the cookbooks and websites I use to educate myself. I hope you enjoy it!


Thursday, May 29, 2008


by David McCullough

I have to start by saying I prefer to learn general history via fiction because I have a fairly short attention span when it comes to names and dates, and, yeah, John Adams is a really long book, and had I not listened to it on audio (unabridged, of course, because I refuse to listen to abridged books), I'm not 100% certain I would have made it to the end. There are stretches of real dry material. However, with the assitance of a CD player, I enjoyed the book overall. I liked that I learned a lot about more than just John Adams. There is a ton of information about his wife Abigail and son John Quincy Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton. . . . The list goes on and on. There are large portions of actual letters written by not only John and Abigail, but many other famous folk of that time, and it was fascinating to hear their actual words regarding not just the Declaration of Independence, the Revolution, the Constitution, and the like, but every day concerns about raising families, the decline of the education system and of the moral values of the country. I found the continuing debate over the issue of slavery most interesting. Probably because it seems so obvious to me that it is a vile institution, I find I have a hard time comprehending any argument that existed in its favor. (Adams, for the record, strongly opposed slavery and never owned any himself.)

Interesting factoid -- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died on the same day: July 4, 1826, precisely fifty years after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence.



Andi said...

This one sounds really informative, but I'm pretty sure I'd have to listen to it on audio, too.

Lezlie said...

Andi ~ Listening makes the duller parts a lot easier to get through, that's for sure!

Teddy Rose said...

I does sound interesting. I just got a copy of 'Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy' by Annette Gordon-Reed. It's very short in comparison, only 227 pages.

Lezlie said...

Teddy Rose ~ That controversy in talked about a bit in "John Adams". Sally stayed with the Adamses for a while in France. Thomas Jefferson was a very interesting person. I'll be reading a biography about him before too long.

Beth F said...

Nice review. Let me second the idea of listening to this book (UNabridged!). The book was well balanced, Adams's faults were not hidden.

Lezlie said...

Beth ~ Absolutely unabridged. I agree. I don't listen to any abridged audiobooks, fiction or nonfiction.