Friday, September 5, 2008
Our neighborhood book club voted to read David McCullough's biography, John Adams, over the summer. While by no means a quick or light read, I have really enjoyed this book. There are no monuments to him, like Washington and Jefferson, who were the President's before and after Adams, but he was one of the most dedicated statesmen of his time. He was truly committed to the cause of American independence and endured considerable personal hardship in the name of liberty. I was particularly struck by "The more things change, the more they stay the same" as I read of the divisions within the country regarding socio-political issues, such as slavery. We have different issues these days, but the same divisions remain. Also regarding the role of the media in the political scene-has journalism ever really been unbiased. It seems from the time of print, newspapers and pamphlets have been published more of a means of furthering one cause or another as opposed to just sharing facts. The argument continues: What is the role of government? What do we as people expect from our government? Then, as now, we see those who would like to have a larger, central government with more authority, and also those who believe the government should be more minimalist and allow for more individual choices. One thing that really impressed me about Adams was his absolute integrity. He always acted consistently with his beliefs, which we do not always find in politicians, then or now. The book also gives a good view of Abigail, who was an amazing woman in her own right. She endured years of separation and managed the household without her husband for a good portion of their married life. Very impressive. (Another good book I read a few years ago relating to this time period is Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts.) Highly recommended reading for anyone who would like a glimpse into one of our nation's first and dearest champions and the Revolutionary time period.