Friday, Dec. 21, 2001

John Adams by David McCullough

The second U.S. President lacked the charisma of such fellow Founding Fathers as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin (and who didn't?), but David McCullough's sprightly, magisterial biography makes a strong case for John Adams' importance, both to his contemporaries and to posterity. Sensible, independent, rather prim, Adams was among the first to advocate American independence, and he displayed a crucial steadying hand during his four years as Chief Executive while the toddling Republic stretched beyond baby steps. Filled with fascinating people, momentous events, shrewd insights and excerpts from letters between Adams and his wife Abigail, John Adams is a marvelous singing of a hero historically unsung.