Harlow Giles Unger~~4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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John Quincy Adams

Harlow Giles Unger

Da Capo Press

Hardcover

978‑0306821285

*****

Election time brings forth candidates who are striving to lead the great nation of ours. The past elections of recent years are very familiar to many, and the presidents who served are well known, but when a book about the sixth president of the United States emerges, we should stop and take notice. Harlow Giles Unger has written a magnificent book, which chronicles the life and career of John Quincy Adams, a scholar who became President.

John Quincy Adams' father, John Adams was the second president of the United States, served a four‑year term while his son John Quincy served the nation in various roles as a minister to six European countries, a Congressman for sixteen years, and of course the presidency.

John Quincy was brilliant and had a great facility for foreign languages, which made him extremely welcome on foreign soil. He conversed in French, Spanish, Italian, German, and various other languages. A graduate of Harvard, he was a lawyer as well, following the example of his illustrious father who also had been a lawyer. During his formative years, his mother Abigail Adams was instrumental in his educational development, and his family raised him to be religious so that he would not bring any shame upon the Adam’s name.

Harlow Unger researched this book in his inimical style of being correct with regard to his references. This book is footnoted and refers to many of the correspondences which were between John Quincy and both his mother and father. John Quincy Adams also wrote a diary that was about 14,000 pages. He started this diary when he was 10 years old and continued through his adulthood. Life during this era of the late 1700Æs and early 1800Æs comes to life because of these notations.

Many of the conflicts that faced our nation during the period in which John Quincy Adams was president, are still facing our nation today. Though the magnitude was not as extreme, there were financial difficulties, questions about Federal Taxation, and the conflict that arose in the Electoral College. Relations with foreign countries like France and England created animosity between different factions here in the United States who supported either one or the other. Diplomacy was a key element in solving disputes and John Quincy Adams was a masterful diplomat.

Intrigue played a role in the relations between our United States and France. It continued from John Adams time to the time of John Quincy Adams. Additionally highlighted was John Quincy Adams' advocacy of freedom. He attempted to influence Congress to free slaves four years before the Emancipation Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. This is a five star book.

Clark Isaacs

 

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