Saturday, December 17, 2005

John Adams

My most recent audio book is John Adams by David McCullough. I normally don’t choose biographies but I find myself truly enjoying it. I may have to reconsider my audio book choices. This audio book is the unabridged version and takes up 26 CDs so I am nowhere near finished yet.

Several ideas struck me as significant in the beginning of the biography:

  • I am amazed at how well read John Adams was. By today’s standards he would surely be considered an intellectual for he would read Roman books in Latin, Greek books in Greek, and English poets. As a lawyer, he had standing orders with London booksellers to ship a copy of any new title on law or government. I found myself wondering if we can produce minds like the founding fathers anymore when TV, DVDs, computer games, the Internet, etc. compete for the attention of our brain cells.
  • Similarly, the founding fathers quoted had incredible vocabularies. Shame on me for my own vocabulary being so meager in comparison.
  • I have been struck by the personal sacrifice of the founding fathers of the US. When John Adams accepted a position in the Continental Congress, it took a couple of weeks to make the trek from the then Massachusetts colony to Philadelphia by horseback. He was gone from his wife and children for months with the only communication being by letters which took just as long to travel back and forth.
  • I find myself admiring John Adams’ wife Abigail as well. The letters from her to her husband which have been quoted reveal real love and devotion, her own keen intellect, and her support for the patriotic cause of her husband.

No comments: