Book Review of The Adams Family (Adams Chronicles)

The Adams Family (Adams Chronicles)
reviewed on + 1134 more book reviews

This well known book is best for those with some background knowledge of history as it is not aimed at being a biography or a history, but instead seeks to explain why the four generations of the family (beginning with President John Adams) made an extraordinary mark on America. Adams are not politicians, instead harking back to the idea that the best and brightest of their generation should work to build a country that is well and selflessly governed.
"That a farmer's son should become a President is, happily, no strange phenomenon in the great democracy, but it is strange indeed, that his descendants, for five generations, by public service in the highest of offices or by intellectual contributions, should remain leaders of the nation which their ancestor so conspicuously helped to found."
Abigail Adams shines more brightly when it is recalled the many years that she had to run the household in Braintree with few resources and the fact that even as Vice President, Adams had a salary of only $5,000 a year, insufficient to cover living and travel expenses. "Hamilton got only $3.500 a year."
Given the current popularity of Mr. Hamilton it is interesting to recall the political machinations that he visited upon John Adams. The author does admit the failings of his ancestors, noting the costs when one was on a 'high horse,' such as John Adams resenting the popularity of Geo. Washington. Facts that the reader may have forgotten are recalled here, such as Col. Washington being named General in Chief on the motion of Adams as a member of the Continental Congress. "Unfortunately he began to overrate his services, great as they were--or, rather, he failed to realize the difference between his own and those of others, no less essential because different."
Also the French did not want the USA to be too successful, being interested mainly in something that provided trouble for the UK--Vergennes was not our friend.
The index is not very good and there are few footnotes, which is problematical in that one might care to read further about certain events that are mentioned and cannot be detailed in one volume.