Book Review: John Adams by David McCullough

I finished winding my way through another 500+ page biography as I continue to try to satisfy my appetite for vivid portrayals of America’s founders.

This time it was David McCullough’s masterful biography of John Adams. Adams was a fascinating figure. From his relationship with Jefferson and Franklin, to his arduous journeys to Paris, to his parenting of John Quincy Adams, to his amazingly romantic and touching relationship with his wife Abigail, Adams’ life is more than worth an in-depth look. Not only was his life interesting, but because of his prolific letter-writing and journaling he left more source material for biographers to work with than perhaps any other founding father.

An image I’ll never forget — I also saw it portrayed on Friday at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science‘s special exhibit on Ben Franklin — is Adams and Franklin in bed together at a tavern. They are both exhausted. But before going to bed, they argue over whether to keep the window open during the night. They argue and they argue. Franklin won’t shut up, seeing as he believed in the healing qualities of the night air. Adams eventually falls asleep while Franklin continues making his point. I love it.

It’s hard to go wrong with a David McCullough biography.

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