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    John Quincy Adams: American Visionary

    By: Fred Kaplan

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    Most Americans know very little about John Quincy Adams. Our sixth president is often cast aside as the gloomy, ultra-rational Puritan of textbook descriptions, a one-term president hardly worth deliberating about today. Award-winning biographer Fred Kaplan challenges this assumption with a major biography that offers a fresh new look at this misunderstood president, arguing that Adams's inspiring, progressive vision for the country has as much to contribute to the future of America - including our twenty-first century way of life - as it did his own life and times. Kaplan's biography tells the story of the full and dramatic life of the first son of John and Abigail Adams - from his childhood during the Revolutionary War to his years in Europe as his father's secretary, from his service as foreign minister and his brilliant years as Secretary of State to his years in the White House and House of Representatives. Adams became the most prominent national figure advocating the end of slavery, culminating in his successful defense of the Amistad captives before the Supreme Court. He also believed strongly in a major role for the federal government as an engine of progress and prosperity, from infrastructure and banking to science, education, and the arts. In these ways - and in his energy, empathy, sharp intellect, and powerful gift with words both spoken and written - he was a predecessor of Lincoln and, later, FDR and Obama. Drawing on a trove of unpublished archival material by and about Adams and spanning his life from before our nation's founding until his death in 1848, American Visionary brings together the many sides of Adams - the public and private man, the statesman and writer, the wise thinker and passionate advocate-into a rich and complex portrait of a brilliant American leader.

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