Tarheeltalker

John Adams

Just finished the David McCullough bio of John Adams and enjoyed it thoroughly. Hard to do justice to such a lengthy book about such  a towering historical figure. Some initial thoughts. The author commented  in his intro that we cannot learn enough about our funding fathers, a sentiment with which I very much agree. Makes me once again wish that I had majored in history in college. My presidential reading continues to remind me of my lack of historical education. I shudder to think of how American history is taught or not in public schools today.

It was delightful to read the many excerpts from the letters of Adams and his wife Abigail. Their correspondence numbered well over a thousand missives of which about half have been published. It is quite remarkable how enduring was their relationship in light of the quantity of time they spent apart. Over the course of their first 14 years of marriage they had been apart over half that time. Of course with communication and travel in those days being what it ways, even their communication was difficult. Letters from the United States to France or England of Holland took months and sometimes never made it at all. There as at  least one incident in which  a packet of her letters was lost at sea when an American diplomat about to be captured by the English threw them overboard along with other sensitive documents.

i observed to my wife after finishing the book that I probably knew more about the Adams’ family and its manner of living than of my own parents, thanks to their prolific correspondence. In contrast, Adams’ contemporary,Thomas Jefferson,destroyed all such family correspondence. His was  somewhat limited however,since his wife Martha died at age 33.

There is much to write about in reflecting on the ” colossus of independence” as Jefferson called him and I will attempt to do some justice to our second President, who seems  to me as somewhat overlooked in the pantheon of early American leaders.

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June 27, 2010 - Posted by | History, Literature | , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. John Adams…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Trackback by All Around the World News | July 3, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] John Adams […]

    Pingback by John Adams « News, Articles and Information | July 4, 2010 | Reply


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