December 17, 2008

John Adams

I have just finished John Adams by David McCullough. Whew. I had definitely not read any hardcore nonfiction in a while, but I was fascinated and sucked in by the story. It helps that Abigail Adams is one of my heroes, and she figures prominently in the story.

The vast amount of correspondence sent by John Adams, his wife, his children, his friends--it makes me lament the lack of real letter writing we do today. Perhaps I should think of this blog as a letter--and based on his proclivity to write letters and articles for newspapers, I can definitely see John keeping a blog.

If you have any interest in the Revolution, the early years of the U.S., or John Adams, I would recommend this book. It is fascinating to read his own words.

A Great Anecdote: The 1800 election, a contest largely between Jefferson and Adams (as the incumbent), was bitter. Adams was mad, a monarchist, old, and toothless. Jefferson cohabited with a slave woman. All of this rancor led to this story:

"If Jefferson carried on with slave women, Adams, according to one story in circulation, had ordered Charles Cotesworth Pinckney to London to procure four pretty mistresses to divide between them. When the story reached Adams, he
was highly amused. 'I do declare upon my honor,' he wrote
William Tudor, 'if this is true General Pinckney has kept them all for himself and cheated me out of my two.'"

The painting I chose was painted by Gilbert Stuart when Adams was nearly 89. His son, John Quincy, asked him to pose for it. Adams enjoyed posing for Stuart, saying, "He lets me do as I please and keeps me constantly amused with conversation." This is the last painting of Adams.

1 comment:

Hannah said...

Like many books, I've only read the first 100 pages, but I love the part about him drinking his own hard cider every morning for breakfast. I aspire to that.