Monday, March 1, 2010

John Quincy Adams by Robert V. Remini

After a two year break (mostly because of school), my quest to read biographies/autobiographies of each president in chronological order continues with Prez number 6.

This is the second biography from “The American Presidents” collection I’ve read. They are concise and compact bios with enough substance to be informative without getting into the nitty-gritty details. This makes the series nice for those with general interest who don’t want to commit to a detail oriented (and much thicker) bio. This text was exactly what I was looking for. Having read David McCullough’s excellent biography on John Adams, Sr. (all 752 pages), I felt I knew enough about JQA that I didn’t need minute details of his youth repeated to me. Considering JQA kept lengthy journals nearly all his life, I wish there had been even more quotes from him. Other than that, I’ve no complaints with Remini's text.

John Quincy was a genius in several areas, perhaps most notably language. His command at an early age of languages (including French, German and Latin) gave him a great advantage in foreign countries in which he represented the United States for many years. His skill as a foreign diplomat was a great asset to a country that desperately needed foreign recognition as a sovereign power. There’s much more to this man but I’ll let you read his bio for yourself. =)

As always, reading Presidential bios is a great way to learn about U.S. history, the creation of political parties, early journalism and different interpretations of the Constitution throughout time not to mention what early life in America was like. Bios make two-hundred-year-old history come to life by revealing how those lives were lived. How did Mrs. Adams like the White House? What was family life like for a Presidential dynasty? Did you know JQA swam in the Potomac on a regular basis? Presidents are unique people to say the least and John Quincy was no exception.
Publisher: Times Books/ Holt, 2002      Source: IC Public Library
Rating: 3.5 Stars                                   Pages: 155 (172 to the index)

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