John Adams by David McCullough

Review by Cindy Bohn of Diggin' Up Bohns

John Adams is remembered today as the second president. Sometimes he is also remembered because until the Bushes, Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams were the only father-son combination to each serve as president. Sometimes he is remembered as a delegate to the convention in 1776. But this monumental book by David McCullough told me so much more about Adams than I ever knew.

This book really is monumental - over 700 pages. But for the most part, it didn't really feel too long. There were some great pictures in there, which helped a bit, but I think the main thing that made it a fun read is that there were so many stories; that's what I love to read.

I had read a little about Adams before, and about his wife, Abigail. But I loved the story of their courtship and their abiding love for each other. I was also interested to read of the complex relationship between Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Despite their serious differences, both men had an abiding respect for one another.

I couldn't help thinking that there are few such patriots around today. Patriotism is in fact a sort of code word that some political groups use to throw around, but most of us feel a little uncomfortable with such a concept. And yet how long would the United States have lasted if it weren't for unabashed patriots in the infancy of the country? Adams contributed much towards making the continuation of our country a possibility. He had enemies on almost every side, including his own cabinet, but he was able to leave a lasting legacy.

I gave this book 5 stars. It kept my attention, despite the size, and I felt that I knew so much more about John Adams than I did before I started. A really great book.


  1. Thank you for this review. We have been watching the series based on this book and it is very, very good. I have been wanting to read both this book and 1776 also by David McCullough. I love your blog.

  2. Truman by David McCullough is also very good. It's even longer but I learned so much about him and the interesting time period that it was worth it.

  3. I love David McCullough. He makes history so approachable. I love how we found out so much about Abigail in this book as well. 1776 is another excellent read from this author.

  4. I am currently in the process of reading/listening to this book. I am finding it very interesting. I think what makes this book good is the writing and how the author brings the information to the reader in more of a story format.