John Adams

Version: Unabridged
Author: David McCullough
Narrator: Nelson Runger
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir, Politics, Law & Politics, North America, Military, Biography
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: May 2002
# of Units: 26 CDs
Length: 30 hours
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The #1 "New York Times" Bestseller Now Available in a Deluxe Unabridged CD Package

In this powerful, epic biography, David McCullough unfolds the adventurous life-journey of John Adams, the brilliant, fiercely independent, often irascible, always honest Yankee patriot who spared nothing in his zeal for the American Revolution; who thought, wrote, and spoke out for the "Great Cause" come what might; who traveled far and wide in all seasons and often at extreme risk; who rose to become the second President of the United States and saved the country from blundering into an unnecessary war; who was rightly celebrated for his integrity, and regarded by some as "out of his senses"; and whose marriage to the wise and valiant Abigail Adams is one of the moving love stories in American history.

Much about John Adams's life will come as a surprise to many. His rocky relationship with friend and eventual archrival Thomas Jefferson, his courageous voyage on the frigate "Boston" tin the winter of 1778 and his later trek over the Pyrenees are exploits few would have dared and that few listeners will ever forget.

Like his masterful, Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "Truman," David McCullough's "John Adams" has the sweep and vitality of a great novel. This is history on a grand scale -- an audiobook about politics and war and social issues, but also about human nature, love, religious faith, virtue, ambition, friendship and betrayal, and the far-reaching consequences of noble ideas. Above all, It is an enthralling, often surprising story of one of the most important and fascinating Americans who ever lived.

Reviews (17)

Great Narration

Written by Tampa Randy from Brandon, FL on June 18th, 2011

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This narrator is excellent, he's done work on The History Channel really keeps you interested, along with the very descriptive writing of David McCullough. I thought David McCullough did much better work here than he did with "1776", he along with David Barton has to be two of the better historians of today, and with this Narrator, will make you feel like you are back in the 18th century, great story teller.

How distorted our history lessons are

Written by John on September 29th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I am some what of a history buff. From a young age I loved history, social studies , and geography classes. When listening to this book I realized how distorted our history lesson were growing up. They really down played Adam's roll in pushing for independence, the declaration of independence, the balancing force to Franklin with the French, to even making it seem that he had nothing to do with formation of the constitution. I found my self completely amazed by this man as well as with his better half Abigail. It is a fabulous look into the founding of America. I would have to say that it is better than "1776"

John Admas Part 1

Written by Anna on August 30th, 2010

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Please be aware that trakc 13 on disk 13 did not work.


Written by rckate on August 23rd, 2010

  • Book Rating: 1/5

I could not finish this book. I have very much enjoyed the book 1776 by the same author but not this one.

John Adams

Written by Anonymous on July 21st, 2010

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book is great! Gives all the detail of John Adams but tells it in such an interesting way. It's very long but never boring!

John Adams

Written by Anonymous from Kansas City, MO on November 30th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 2/5

I was looking forward to learning more about John Adams. Even though I consider myself a learned and well read person, I didn't know much at all about Mr. Adams. However, I found the story to be painfully tedious. I forced myself to listen to the first disc and then was at least interested enough to continue. I was hoping that John Adams would "come to life" in this book. Instead, the book began with simple lists of adjectives that described him, and then continued with facts about his life, followed by quotes from letters he and others wrote at the time. Although I did listen to the whole story and found Adams to be a really impressive person and my view of Thomas Jefferson is forever changed, I applaud anyone who can get through the entire tome.


Written by Mike Ogilvie from Richmond, VA on September 8th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The John Adams biography was better than I could have expected! This book has given me a more encompassing look at the birth of the United States and its infancy than I've ever had before. While it was a larger number of CDs than most books, it was well worth it. I'm sorry I'm done now - wish there were a few more CDs in there.

a must read

Written by Anonymous on April 7th, 2009

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A must read for anyone intersted in our history. The author brought Adams ot life for me. What a wonderful look at many of the major players of the first 50 yers of our great country.

Please listen to this book

Written by Lover of Hyperbole on December 18th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Maybe the greatest patriot of all time. I learned so much, not just about Adams, but so many of the movers and shakers of the times.


Written by RML on November 22nd, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A treasure of information and history of the period. John Adams, Abagail, Jefferson, etc were brought to life. The reader learns about their strengths and failings. We learn about how much of today's political process got it start right from the beginning of our nation, The more things change the more they stay the same! I missed listening to this book when it ended. The real test of a good book. My only complaint was the reader. He was very dry both figuratively and literally.

Author Details

Author Details

McCullough, David

David McCullough was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a student at Yale he met the author Thornton Wilder, and after considering careers in politics and in the arts, was inspired to become an author. While at Yale, he met his future wife, Rosalee Barnes, a student at Vassar.

After college McCullough moved to New York City and worked as an editorial assistant at Sports Illustrated. "Swept up by the excitement of the Kennedy era," he moved to Washington and became an editor and writer at the United States Information Agency. While in Washington, he also worked part time for American Heritage. In 1964 he became a full time editor and writer for the publisher he sometimes calls "my graduate school."

By this time David and Rosalee had married and started a family. He wrote his first book at night and on weekends while working full time. The Johnstown Flood, inspired by the great catastrophe that struck his native region in 1889, was an unexpected best-seller in 1968. Its success emboldened him to quit his job and commit to a full time writing career.

Since then he has published a series of distinguished works of history and biography, all of which have won enormous popularity with the reading public. The Great Bridge (1972) recounted the building of Brooklyn Bridge. The book has served as the basis of a memorable documentary film, which was nominated for an Academy Award. McCullough's own voice was heard as the narrator of this film, of Ken Burns's The Civil War, of The Johnstown Flood, and as host of more than one public television series, including The American Experience and Smithsonian World.

McCullough's story of the Panama Canal, The Path Between the Seas (1977) was an instant best-seller, acclaimed by the publishing industry and the historical profession. It was honored with the National Book Award for History, the Cornelius Ryan Award, the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, and the Francis Parkman Prize from the American Society of Historians. It also helped influence history, playing an important part in determining the nation's policy concerning the future of the Canal. It had a profound influence on American policy and public opinion in the late 1970s, as the country debated the future of the Canal.

In Mornings on Horseback (1981), McCullough recounted the youth of President Theodore Roosevelt. The book won McCullough a second National Book Award, this time for Biography. In the 20 years since, McCullough has taken a special interest in the lives and character of America's presidents. He was awarded his first Pulitzer Prize in 1993 for his biography of President Truman, and he is frequently called upon to discuss the presidency in the news media.

At the time of his interview with the Academy of Achievement, David McCullough had begun work on a dual biography of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The second and third presidents were allies in the struggle for independence but became bitter rivals in the early years of the republic. After their back-to-back presidencies, they became reconciled and carried on a warm and fascinating correspondence for the rest of their lives. By an extraordinary coincidence, they died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of America's independence.

As his work on the book progressed, McCullough became increasingly intrigued with the character of John Adams. Convinced that Adams had not received his historic due, in comparison with the more celebrated Jefferson, McCullough decided to devote his entire book to Adams. The result topped the New York Times best seller list from the week it went on sale, and won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Biography.

David and Rosalee McCullough live in West Tisbury, Massachusetts. They have five children and many grandchildren. McCullough writes every day in a studio behind his house. "I would pay to do what I do," he told an interviewer. "How could I have a better time than doing what I am doing?"