Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams
John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation and its second president, spent nearly the last third of his life in retirement grappling with contradictory views of his place in history and fearing his reputation would not fare well in the generations after his death. In an incomplete autobiography, and in numerous publications and voluminous correspondence with Thomas Jefferson and many others, he argued and railed against those who disagreed with him or made little of his contribution to our country's political foundations. And indeed, future generations did slight him, elevating Jefferson and Madison to lofty heights with Washington while Adams remained way back in the second tier. Now, in a witty, clear, and thoughtful narrative of Adams's later life at his home in Quincy, Joseph Ellis explores the mind and personality of the man as well as the earlier events that shaped his thinking. Readers will discover Adams to be both contentious and lovable, generous and petty, and the most intellectually profound of the revolutionary generation, a man who may have contributed to the earlier underestimates of his role in history, and whose perspective on America's prospects has relevance for us today.