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Extended Audio Sample Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams, by Joseph J. Ellis Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (390 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Joseph J. Ellis Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Here is a fresh look at an astute, likably quirky statesman, by the author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning Founding Brothers and the National Book Award–winning American Sphinx.

John Adams, one of the Founding Fathers of our nation and its second president, spent nearly the last third of his life in retirement, grappling with contradictory views of his place in history and fearing his reputation would not fare well in the generations after his death. And indeed, future generations did slight him, elevating Jefferson and Madison to lofty heights while Adams remained way back in the second tier. Now, in a witty, clear, and thoughtful narrative of Adams’ later life at his home in Quincy, Joseph Ellis explores the mind and personality of the man, as well as the earlier events that shaped his thinking. Listeners will discover Adams to be both contentious and lovable, generous and petty, and perhaps the most intellectually profound of the revolutionary generation, whose perspective on America’s prospects has relevance for us today.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “His best book…Ellis’ knack for bringing historical figures to life seems so natural you can’t imagine him doing anything else.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[A] notable study.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Capture[s] the man’s appealing spirit, providing new perspective on an unfairly neglected Founding Father.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Parker narrates this intellectual tour de force with strength and wit. His unvoiced reading matches the text wonderfully. His reading presents the complexity of thought clearly.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Steve | 1/18/2014

    " John Adams is one of U.S. history's more engaging characters. Ellis does a great job describing Adam's passion and wisdom as he helped with the founding of our Nation. A great book though I found David McCullough's book on John Adams a little more moving. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Diane | 1/8/2014

    " A must if you love history "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David Simonetti | 1/3/2014

    " This is an insightful and interesting study of Adam's charatcer. I enjoyed the book and it was easy to read, despite the fact that some times history books can be dry. Well worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Chris | 1/2/2014

    " I find Joseph Ellis to be a lot more even handed towards Mr. Adams than is the ever popular David McCullough, whom I find to have a little too much pollyanna in him. "

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