Download John Quincy Adams Audiobook

John Quincy Adams Audiobook, by Harlow Giles Unger Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Harlow Giles Unger Narrator: Johnny Heller Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2012 ISBN: 9781481592185
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (168 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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He fought for Washington, served with Lincoln, witnessed Bunker Hill, and sounded the clarion against slavery on the eve of the Civil War. He negotiated an end to the War of 1812, engineered the annexation of Florida, and won the Supreme Court decision that freed the African captives of La Amistad. He served his nation as minister to six countries, secretary of state, senator, congressman, and president.

John Quincy Adams was all of these things and more. In this masterful biography, award-winning author Harlow Giles Unger reveals Adams as a towering figure in the nation’s formative years and one of the most courageous figures in American history—which is why he ranked first in John F. Kennedy’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Profiles in Courage.

For this magisterial biography, Unger makes use of a little-known national treasure: John Quincy Adams’ diary, started at age ten, giving us an eye-witness account of sixty-five years of critical American history. 

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Quotes & Awards

  • “In Unger’s hands, Adams comes close to becoming an inspiring character…Unger makes him seem as overweeningly intelligent, clever, headstrong, insecure, brave, and insightful as he probably was.”

    American History

  • “Spare prose clarifies the overview of political complications and intricate family dynamics, revealing Adams as a historically overlooked yet key transitional figure who witnessed the birth of the nation and endured its nearly irreparable geographic squabbles of the 1840s.” 

    Publishers Weekly

  • “[An] in-depth biography. The reader comes to know John Quincy Adams intimately as a son, father, statesman, and patriot…The individuals encountered in the narrative are familiar, but—in the best tradition of David McCullough’s biographies—the pace and plotting pull readers forward even though they may know the ending. Unger makes use of many years of JQA’s diaries and expertly dissects intricate political and (potentially confusing) family relationships. In all, he succeeds in making clear why JQA was the first subject of John F. Kennedy’s Profiles in Courage. Verdict: Unger does a masterful job. Although there are other books on John Quincy Adams, American history and political history buffs will find this stirring work irresistible.”

    Library Journal

  • “Unger’s well-presented portrait merits American-history readers’ attention.”


  • “A neglected president receives his due as a statesman and practical politician…A fine examination of a life, well deserving a place alongside David McCullough’s study of Adams père.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Unger captures the many sides of Adams and his era in the superb John Quincy Adams…Eloquent, irritating, and fiercely committed to his work, John Quincy Adams lived an extraordinary life, and Unger tells his story convincingly in this compelling narrative.”


  • “[A] lively and often intimate account…John Quincy Adams is usually brushed aside in discussions of the presidents, but Unger makes a convincing argument that the presidency was only a footnote in one of the most important public careers in American history.”

    Asbury Park Sunday Press

  • “[A] compelling volume.”

    Federal Lawyer

  • “Unger’s biography of John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, is enlightening and, with Heller’s accomplished reading, entertaining…Johnny Heller’s even pacing, perfect tone, and flawless reading make this a pleasure to listen to.”

Listener Reviews

Write a Review
  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 2/18/2014

    " A nice brief biography about an amazing man. I wish it had been more in-depth. JQ Adams did so much to shape this country, a book of 800 to 1000 pages would be needed to do him justice. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joseph | 2/18/2014

    " Excellent. Well written and informative. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 2/11/2014

    " Excellent read and informative! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ima | 2/8/2014

    " Loved this book! Gave me a better appreciation for his contributions to our country. Great Patriot! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lucas | 1/15/2014

    " A fascinating look at the life of a President that had greater successes after leaving office than while in office. This is must read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 RJ | 1/15/2014

    " ...a very fine book, about a very Great Man. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 1/2/2014

    " A good, honest bio. JQA deserves a lot more recognition for his work...maybe not when president, but the rest of his life... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donald | 12/26/2013

    " One of my favorite books of the year. I learned so much! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rctgale | 12/18/2013

    " A well-written and researched biography of a fascinating man about whom I knew little. His contributions to the fledgling United States were many and important. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Don | 7/28/2013

    " This is a wonderful book about a truly great American who was deeply committed to science and civil justice. I found the book inspirational! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeffrey | 1/8/2013

    " It was a nice short biography. It was very enjoyable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tom | 12/13/2012

    " Interesting book about a great statement who wasn't so great a political decision maker while president. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rob | 12/12/2012

    " What a brilliant individual. America is the better for JQA! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 10/19/2012

    " Excellent balance between strong research and great writing...I highly recommend this book. Unger presents John Quincy Adams as a fascinating historical figure who accomplished far more as a Congressman (after his presidency) than he did as president. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 9/15/2012

    " A very comprehensive look at John Quincy Adams' life, rich with details. Written in the form of a novel, it was very interesting and enlightening. "

About the Author

Harlow Giles Unger, a former distinguished visiting fellow in American history at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, is a veteran journalist, broadcaster, educator, and historian. He is the author of more than twenty books, including several biographies of the Founding Fathers. He has also authored histories of the early Republic as well as numerous books on American education. He lives in New York.

About the Narrator

Johnny Heller, winner of numerous Earphones and Audie Awards, was named a “Golden Voice” by AudioFile magazine in 2019. He has been a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award winner from 2008 through 2013 and he has been named a top voice of 2008 and 2009 and selected as one of the Top 50 Narrators of the Twentieth Century by AudioFile magazine.