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In this fresh and illuminating biography, Fred Kaplan brings into focus the dramatic life of John Quincy Adams—the little-known and much-misunderstood sixth president of the United States and the first son of John and Abigail Adams—and reveals how Adams' inspiring, progressive vision guided his life and helped shape the course of America.
Kaplan draws on a trove of unpublished archival material to trace Adams' evolution from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his brilliant years as Secretary of State to his time in the White House and beyond. He examines Adams' myriad sides: the public and private man, the statesman and writer, the wise thinker and passionate advocate, the leading abolitionist and fervent federalist. In these ways, Adams was a predecessor of Lincoln and, later, FDR and Obama. This sweeping biography makes clear how Adams' forward-thinking values, his definition of leadership, and his vision for the nation's future is as much about twenty-first-century America as it is about Adams' own time.
Meticulously researched and masterfully written, John Quincy Adams paints a rich portrait of this brilliant leader and his vision for a young nation.
Fred Kaplan is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Lincoln: The Biography of a Writer, which was named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times and Washington Post, among other publications. His biography of Thomas Carlyle was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Maine.