Remembering John Adams

The Second President in History, Memory and Popular Culture


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About the Book

Has John Adams been forgotten? He is the only Founding Father without a major memorial in the nation’s capital. When he lamented that “monuments will never be erected to me,” he predicted as much. His pessimism was understandable, but it was unjustified: Adams has since been portrayed in numerous biographies, plays, musicals, poems, novels, and television shows.
This is the first comprehensive overview of John Adams as he appears in scholarship and in popular culture. The second president is one-dimensional at times, and perhaps best known to the public as “obnoxious and disliked,” but he is always fascinating. The varied ways in which biographers and artists represented Adams provide a glimpse into his character. These portrayals also provide insight into the various ways in which people continue to find meaning in the American Revolution and its aftermath.

About the Author(s)

Marianne Holdzkom is an associate professor of history at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, and specializes in the colonial and revolutionary periods of United States history.

Bibliographic Details

Marianne Holdzkom
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 250
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8343-0
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4920-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1
Introduction 7
One. John Adams: A Brief Life Summary 15
Two. The Historians’ View: Early Biographies Through the 1960s 34
Three. Historiography from 1976 to the Present 52
Four. The John Adams of the Literary World 76
Five. “Obnoxious and Disliked”: The John Adams of 1776 101
Six. John Adams on the Small Screen 121
Seven. The McCullough and HBO John Adams 145
Eight. John Adams of Quincy 164
Nine. The Adams National Historical Park 178
Conclusion 194
Chapter Notes 203
Bibliography 229
Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

“An amalgam of historiography, annotated bibliography, and literary and cultural analysis…comprehensive, jargon-free…meticulous and discerning analysis… This study makes for lively reading. …highly recommended”—Choice