Top positive review
John Adams - political and philosophical foundation
Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2016
As usual and expected for this series, this is not nearly a full biography of Adams. But it does have something that the full length biographies by McCullough and Ferling do not have. Diggins goes much more into the philosophical and political writings of John Adams and spends quite a bit of space explaining how they relate to Adams’ political actions and his presidency. That is a plus for the book. The downside is that the narration of Adams’ presidency and the overview of his life before and after does not flow well in places. I thought in some sections the exposition of Adams’ political and philosophical views was unnecessarily detailed. However, it depends what you are looking for. I read both McCullough’s biography as well as Ferling’s and highly recommend both. If the reader is looking for the theoretical underpinning of Adams’ actions, including why some Jeffersonians thought he wanted a U.S. monarchy, then this is the book. But the narration in the book is frequently broken by explanations of Adams’ theoretical writings.