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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams—one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to the United States’ dramatic transition from a colonial society to a modern nation. Henry Adams is perhaps the most eclectic, accomplished, and important American wr A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams—one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to the United States’ dramatic transition from a colonial society to a modern nation. Henry Adams is perhaps the most eclectic, accomplished, and important American writer of his time. His autobiography and modern classic The Education of Henry Adams was widely considered one of the best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. The last member of his distinguished family—after great-grandfather John Adams, and grandfather John Quincy Adams—to gain national attention, he is remembered today as an historian, a political commentator, and a memoirist. Now, historian David Brown sheds light on the brilliant yet under-celebrated life of this major American intellectual. Adams not only lived through the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution but he met Abraham Lincoln, bowed before Queen Victoria, and counted powerful figures, including Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and President Theodore Roosevelt as friends and neighbors. His observations of these men and their policies in his private letters provide a penetrating assessment of Gilded Age America on the cusp of the modern era. The Last American Aristocrat details Adams’s relationships with his wife (Marian “Clover” Hooper) and, following her suicide, Elizabeth Cameron, the young wife of a senator and part of the famous Sherman clan from Ohio. Henry Adams’s letters—thousands of them—demonstrate his struggles with depression, familial expectations, and reconciling with his unwanted widower’s existence. Presenting intimate and insightful details of a fascinating and unusual American life and a new window on nineteenth century US history, The Last American Aristocrat shows us a more “modern” and “human” Henry Adams than ever before.


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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams—one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to the United States’ dramatic transition from a colonial society to a modern nation. Henry Adams is perhaps the most eclectic, accomplished, and important American wr A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice A revelatory biography of literary icon Henry Adams—one of America’s most prominent writers and intellectuals of his era, who witnessed and contributed to the United States’ dramatic transition from a colonial society to a modern nation. Henry Adams is perhaps the most eclectic, accomplished, and important American writer of his time. His autobiography and modern classic The Education of Henry Adams was widely considered one of the best English-language nonfiction books of the 20th century. The last member of his distinguished family—after great-grandfather John Adams, and grandfather John Quincy Adams—to gain national attention, he is remembered today as an historian, a political commentator, and a memoirist. Now, historian David Brown sheds light on the brilliant yet under-celebrated life of this major American intellectual. Adams not only lived through the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution but he met Abraham Lincoln, bowed before Queen Victoria, and counted powerful figures, including Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, and President Theodore Roosevelt as friends and neighbors. His observations of these men and their policies in his private letters provide a penetrating assessment of Gilded Age America on the cusp of the modern era. The Last American Aristocrat details Adams’s relationships with his wife (Marian “Clover” Hooper) and, following her suicide, Elizabeth Cameron, the young wife of a senator and part of the famous Sherman clan from Ohio. Henry Adams’s letters—thousands of them—demonstrate his struggles with depression, familial expectations, and reconciling with his unwanted widower’s existence. Presenting intimate and insightful details of a fascinating and unusual American life and a new window on nineteenth century US history, The Last American Aristocrat shows us a more “modern” and “human” Henry Adams than ever before.

30 review for The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    https://wp.me/p4dW55-R0 Published six weeks ago, “The Last American Aristocrat” is David S. Brown’s most recent biography. Brown is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and the author of five books including “Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald” and “Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography.” Henry Adams is not a familiar figure to most modern readers but was a man of significant renown in his day. The dour Henry, who descended from two presidents, was a Harvard-educated his https://wp.me/p4dW55-R0 Published six weeks ago, “The Last American Aristocrat” is David S. Brown’s most recent biography. Brown is professor of history at Elizabethtown College and the author of five books including “Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald” and “Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography.” Henry Adams is not a familiar figure to most modern readers but was a man of significant renown in his day. The dour Henry, who descended from two presidents, was a Harvard-educated historian and Gilded Age author/intellectual best-known for his posthumously published (and Pulitzer Prize winning) memoir “The Education of Henry Adams.” His nine-volume history of the United States is considered one of the best English-written histories ever compiled. A key challenge for any biographer of Henry Adams is to capture and convey his deeply perceptive observations while remaining mindful of his privileged, occasionally biased and frequently caustic worldview. In many ways, this biography of Adams is the thoughtfully distilled story of a shrewd witness to America’s transition from early republic to its “modern” era. This book begins on a strong note. Its Introduction is excellent- providing an overview of its subject, presenting the author’s thesis and explaining why Adams is relevant to a modern audience. The remainder of the 392-page narrative is articulately written, demonstrates careful research and generally moves at a brisk but not rushed pace. And although some prior knowledge of the era is helpful, Brown frequently injects social and historical context into the biography. Some of this book’s most instructive chapters review Adams’s famous and most compelling publications. These are often excellent…but are likely to prove more interesting to scholars than general readers. The chapter which explores Adams’s memoir, however, should prove compelling to almost anyone. The most fascinating aspect of the book, however, is the ongoing attention paid to Adams’s decades-long infatuation with Lizzie Cameron (who happened to be General William Sherman’s niece). Excerpts from his periodic correspondence to her is frequently embedded in the narrative and adds sparkle and spirit to Adams’s otherwise disagreeable complexion. Grappling with Henry Adams’s paradoxical persona would be a challenge for any biographer. But while Brown does an admirable job fleshing out his subject, the narrative often feels more like a history text than a biography. Brown’s writing style betrays his academic background and, given Adams’s robust social network and extensive world travels, it is regrettable there is not more “on the ground” flair or flourish which would place the reader fully in Adams’s world. In addition, most readers will come to the view that this biography is either somewhat too lengthy, or far too short. Given all that Adams observed during his long and episodically fascinating life, many readers will be left with the sense that much was left out of this book. Frequent are the moments when a paragraph – or page – will leave the reader wanting to know more. Whether this is due to a shortage of historical evidence, or merely the author’s desire to press on, is never quite clear. Overall, David S. Brown’s “The Last American Aristocrat” is a revealing review of the life of the last prominent descendant of John Adams. As history this book is excellent and provides a platform for further scholarly investigation. As biography – the opportunity to experience the world fully from Henry Adams’s vantage point – the book is fine, but far from fabulous. Overall rating: 3¾ stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    Henry Adams was born in 1838, the year the telegraph was first demonstrated. Native Americans were forced to relocate and the Underground Railroad was being established. Meanwhile in Britain, slavery was abolished, Victoria was newly on the throne, and Dickens published Oliver Twist. Adams died in 1918 during WWI, the year of the Spanish Influenza and the first time airplanes were used by the USPS. Henry was the grandson of President John Quincy Adams, 'the Governor' of Henry's childhood, and th Henry Adams was born in 1838, the year the telegraph was first demonstrated. Native Americans were forced to relocate and the Underground Railroad was being established. Meanwhile in Britain, slavery was abolished, Victoria was newly on the throne, and Dickens published Oliver Twist. Adams died in 1918 during WWI, the year of the Spanish Influenza and the first time airplanes were used by the USPS. Henry was the grandson of President John Quincy Adams, 'the Governor' of Henry's childhood, and the great-grandson of founding father President John Adams. His own father Charles Francis had served as ambassador to England, as had generations of Adams men. Unlike his predecessors, Adams neither committed his life to public service. He never had children and his wife committed suicide when he was in his late 40s. He spent some time teaching at Harvard, and was popular with the students, but it did not suit him. Henry became a historian, a world traveler, and an insider Washingtonian socialite. "What could become of such a child of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when he should wake up to find himself required to play the games of the twentieth? " he wrote in the first chapter, continuing, "As it happened, he never got to the point of playing the game at all; he lost himself in the study of it."~ from The Education of Henry Adams It was his book The Education of Henry Adams that introduced me to him. It is a strange book, self-published and shared with his friends. He writes about his childhood in Quincy and his later life, skipping the death of his wife and his most regarded histories. He writes about the changes in society, the rise of capitalists and industry and the power of money. Like his predecessors, Henry was intellectual, high-minded, and could be contrary. Like his predecessors, he believed one should be called to public duty, not seek it, an 18th c concept dated by his time. Unlike his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, he was not called to serve as an ambassador, although he was his father's private secretary in London. Instead, he wrote. He wrote an eight-volume history of Jeffersonian America, he wrote political commentary, he wrote travel pieces and about architecture and medieval history. John Adams and John Quincy Adams were men of their time, men of action, called upon to serve their country. Henry was an observer and an outsider, out of sync, never at home. John Adams was against slavery and John Quincy Adams fought Congress over the ban to discuss abolition. His father Charles Francis was involved with the anti-slavery Whig party. Henry was uninterested and unengaged with the problems of African Americans. As capitalism and business men rose to power, Anti-Semitism became mainstream, and Henry was not immune. He despaired to see that the big money of the 'northern plutocracy" was the rising power in Washington. He railed against corruption and the patronage system, and despaired that too many 'good men' avoided politics as a dirty business. He railed against the rise of the Boston Irish. He married a cerebral woman overly attached to her father, a woman liked by few. After her early death, Adams built her a enigmatic memorial, the details of which he left up to the famed sculpture Saint-Gaudens while he went on a world tour while claiming he died to the world with her. The arc of Adam's life crossed a part of American history and politics I was not well versed on, and I found this aspect of the biography to be very interesting. The problems we see today in American politics have deep roots. Some trivia tidbits from Adams life: *Henry James wrote in a letter to Edith Wharton that Adams read Jane Austen's Persuasion aloud in the evenings. *F. Scott Fitzgerald's character Thornton Hancock was inspired by Adams; he had met him when a boy. *Adams studied under geologist Louis Agassiz at Harvard, saying his class was "the only teaching that appealed to [my] imagination." *Adams wrote two novels, including Democracy about Gilded Age Washington DC politics; Teddy Roosevelt found it "essentially mean and base." *Adams fell in love with an unhappily married, beautiful and intelligent socialite who counted on his friendship but rejected him as a lover. She did not find him physically attractive. I was given a free ebook by the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    New year, new rating system! Structure/Formatting 4/5 The multi-part format of this book is normally something I enjoy in my physical history books, but since I listened to this on audio, it was hard to follow along sometimes and figure out which chapter or section I was in. I frequently had to consult the track list to figure out which section I was in. I think if I had paired this with a physical copy it would have been great, but it was hard to keep the sections straight via audio. Thoroughness New year, new rating system! Structure/Formatting 4/5 The multi-part format of this book is normally something I enjoy in my physical history books, but since I listened to this on audio, it was hard to follow along sometimes and figure out which chapter or section I was in. I frequently had to consult the track list to figure out which section I was in. I think if I had paired this with a physical copy it would have been great, but it was hard to keep the sections straight via audio. Thoroughness of research/knowledge of subject 5/5 Since I didn't have a physical copy to check notes or sources in the back, it seemed okay to me. I really got a sense of who Henry was and his stance on certain issues and situations (even when I didn't agree with him). I started out really thinking I could get along with Henry and have some fun conversations. After the death of his wife though, his views and opinions started to shift, and then the anti-Semitism really bothered me. I felt like the author did a great job of conveying his views and feelings though instead of trying to explain or apologize on behalf of Henry (which has bothered me in some other books handling racist notions). Storytelling/writing 4/5 I thought the writing was very straightforward and clear. It was easy to read. The only thing I sometimes wished for was, in some history books for the Adamses that I read, the author would have a note on how they would refer to the various Johns and Abigails and other same-name family members. This one didn't have a note like that, so I was left with trying to keep up with who was who via audio, and it sometimes got jumbled until a few paragraphs later when a reference to his aunt or brother would come up. Level of enjoyment 3/5 I was really enjoying this book up to Clover's death, then it kind of went downhill for me. It may have been because of the personality shift and priorities shift in Henry after her death, but whatever it was, I was fairly bored with the latter half of the book. Prior knowledge needed 4/5 I am fairly well-versed at this point in American history up through Jefferson's inauguration thanks to my book club. I am trying to slowly branch out beyond that period. Some of the earlier book, when the author would mention policies and things involving John Quincy Adams, I was fairly aware of what was going on and who was involved. A lot of what happened afterwards only brought up vague memories from high school. Sometimes the author would help fill in some of my lacking knowledge, but it wasn't consistent enough for me to feel like I was getting a good grasp on what he was talking about. Overall Rating 4/5 In general, I am glad I read this book. It was nice to try to branch out of my "normal" historical time period by following a descendant of a family I've come to adore. It may have meant more to me if I was a little more knowledgeable of the time period covered though. It does make me want to read his books and histories. I would recommend this book to lovers of the Adams family, people who enjoy learning about Victorian authors, and researchers of American politics.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marks54

    This is a new single volume biography of Henry Adams. I knew I would read this since I enjoyed a biography of his friend John Hay a few years ago. David Brown’s book is excellent and very readable. Why read a biography of Henry Adams? To start with, just consider the family tree. His grandfather was John Quincy Adams. His great grandfather was John Adams. His father served in Congress and as a key diplomat to Britain. No pressure in that background. Adams lived and worked right at the moment when t This is a new single volume biography of Henry Adams. I knew I would read this since I enjoyed a biography of his friend John Hay a few years ago. David Brown’s book is excellent and very readable. Why read a biography of Henry Adams? To start with, just consider the family tree. His grandfather was John Quincy Adams. His great grandfather was John Adams. His father served in Congress and as a key diplomat to Britain. No pressure in that background. Adams lived and worked right at the moment when the History profession was becoming established and professionalized in the US. He was an Assistant Professor of History at Harvard and was in the forefront of developing serious doctoral training in history, although he himself remained much a part of the earlier tradition at Harvard and other elite colleges. Because of his education and training, along with his Boston/Washington elite background he became the model of the cultured and educated wise man who could effortlessly roam the halls of power and advise decision makers if they cared to listen. In his prime he knew most of them anyway. In this role, he did not need to get his fingers dirty but could provide advice or not as he wished. Of course, he found out - too late - the actually being involved and having a stake was crucial to being successful in Washington power games. He wrote a lot and some of his early work on early US history is still of some interest. By far, however, he is best known for two later works, “Mt. St.-Michel and Chartres” and “The Education of Harry Adams”. Brown argues that Adams is especially important as an individual whose life and experiences spanned the US transition from a young country follow the Revolution through the Civil War and Reconstruction, through the Gilded Age, ending in the same year as the end of WW1, which brought the “long nineteenth century” to a close. Add to that Adam’s exceptional powers of observation and analysis and his view of America’s growth from a revolutionary victor into an imperial power is well worth coming to know. His perspective also complements the incredibly rich intellectual life of the Gilded Age that has been chronicled in a range of other works. In his observations about the threats of a new century to an America that had grown up in the prior century, Adams also takes on relevance to contemporary America and its rocky movement into the 21st century. Damn. I need to go back and reread “The Education of Henry Adams”. My biggest surprise from the book concerned his wife, Clover, who committed suicide in 1885, for reasons that remain unclear. He never got over this and the event reoriented his life (as well as providing the organizing point for the biography). As an aside, my first serious encounter with Adams’ work was with Mt. St. Michel and Chartres. A long time ago, I found myself with a day to spend in Chartres alone and I ended up using the Chartres portion of Adams’ book as a self-guided tour of sorts for the cathedral. It works well at that. I highly recommend the book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alan Braswell

    " What could become such a child of the 17th and 18th centuries we he should wake up to find himself required to play the games of the 20th?" In this outstanding biography of a all but forgotten individual whose books are "gathering dust in some corner", David S Brown has given us a portrait of an individual who seemed to be born in the wrong century. Henry Adams whose great grandfather John Adams and grandfather John Quincy Adams served as Presidents of the United States and the Adam's of Bo " What could become such a child of the 17th and 18th centuries we he should wake up to find himself required to play the games of the 20th?" In this outstanding biography of a all but forgotten individual whose books are "gathering dust in some corner", David S Brown has given us a portrait of an individual who seemed to be born in the wrong century. Henry Adams whose great grandfather John Adams and grandfather John Quincy Adams served as Presidents of the United States and the Adam's of Boston begin to fade as Henry Adams stayed to close to Washington DC but never lingered for very long as he is always on the move. A stint at Harvard where he founded one the oldest literary publication in the United States. Over to England serving in the Court of St James. To Japan shortly after his wife committed suicide. Then taking on the likes of J P Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie calling them men who "turned calm into chaos and chaos into profit. " The Last American Aristocrat is one biography that will not gather dust in some corner as the subject has been all but dusted off to allow the reader to experience the fullness of the man . Thanks to Scribner and NetGalley for this ARC.

  6. 5 out of 5

    David Dunlap

    This is a full-length biography of the noted American historian...and scion of the Adams family so important in the history of the United States. The book is divided into to parts: the events from Adams's birth (1838) until the death (by suicide) of his wife Marian ('Clover') Hooper in 1885, then what Adams himself called his 'posthumous life' (until his death in 1918). Throughout, we are treated to Adams family members, Henry's friends and associates, his education and his views on history, des This is a full-length biography of the noted American historian...and scion of the Adams family so important in the history of the United States. The book is divided into to parts: the events from Adams's birth (1838) until the death (by suicide) of his wife Marian ('Clover') Hooper in 1885, then what Adams himself called his 'posthumous life' (until his death in 1918). Throughout, we are treated to Adams family members, Henry's friends and associates, his education and his views on history, descriptions of his major works, and his various adventures around the world. Always at the center of the book, of course, is Henry Adams himself. We see the man in a rounded portrait, his attractive aspects (his fondness for his nieces, his sharp wit, his loyalty to his friends), as well as the darker, less savory characteristics (his acid tongue, his love of gossip, his antisemitism). This reader leaves the book with the impression that Henry Adams might have been a fun dinner companion or an insightful tour guide, but not an easy person to live with...or to have for an intimate. -- The book itself is well-written in an unadorned, straightforward style. There are some languors: the chapter on Henry's book on Anglo-Saxon law is a case in point. I don't know whether to applaud the author's boldness or denigrate the publisher's miscue, but the lack of a family tree in a family so prominent and historically significant as the Adamses seems to me to be a serious flaw in an otherwise admirable volume.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Claussen

    A fine single-volume biography of one of America's leading critics and historians. David Brown does a good job of letting Henry Adams fade into the background in order to give space to the intellectual, social, and cultural milieu of his subject; in some ways, this is less a biography of Adams than of the end of the nineteenth century. Only three stars because of my own deficiencies - although Brown does a good job of signposting the other figures as they enter into the narrative, I have not stu A fine single-volume biography of one of America's leading critics and historians. David Brown does a good job of letting Henry Adams fade into the background in order to give space to the intellectual, social, and cultural milieu of his subject; in some ways, this is less a biography of Adams than of the end of the nineteenth century. Only three stars because of my own deficiencies - although Brown does a good job of signposting the other figures as they enter into the narrative, I have not studied my American history well enough to keep everyone straight and resorted to drawing a map as a way of following characters in and out of the narrative.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    Never a hot topic, Henry Adams nevertheless fascinated me in early years, largely due to poring over the Education for a class. Decades later I find this new book could have been useful in showing the lighter and more lively side of this "aristocrat". Not that this is breezy; Adams is still an anti-semitic snob, but it provides a window into the mysteries left out of his autobiography, especially regarding his marriage and his interesting but doomed wife. Would have like more details about his e Never a hot topic, Henry Adams nevertheless fascinated me in early years, largely due to poring over the Education for a class. Decades later I find this new book could have been useful in showing the lighter and more lively side of this "aristocrat". Not that this is breezy; Adams is still an anti-semitic snob, but it provides a window into the mysteries left out of his autobiography, especially regarding his marriage and his interesting but doomed wife. Would have like more details about his extensive travels and his very interesting acquaintances. Another 100 pages could have been more edifying. I liked it; will look for more of Brown's work.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Kendall

    This is an outstanding biography of Henry Adams (1838-1918). Brown separates Adams's life into two parts. The dividing line is the suicide of his wife, Clover , in 1885. Adams considered himself a failure, possibly because he never achieved the political success of his ancestors. Yet, Brown views him as the pre-eminent 19th century American historian. Adams was also an accomplished novelist, and an innovative university professor. And, of course, he knew everyone-- political figures from his gra This is an outstanding biography of Henry Adams (1838-1918). Brown separates Adams's life into two parts. The dividing line is the suicide of his wife, Clover , in 1885. Adams considered himself a failure, possibly because he never achieved the political success of his ancestors. Yet, Brown views him as the pre-eminent 19th century American historian. Adams was also an accomplished novelist, and an innovative university professor. And, of course, he knew everyone-- political figures from his grandfather, John Quincy Adams to Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and intellectuals like Henry and William James. Well-written and well-researched, this will be the standard work on Adams.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gerry Connolly

    David Brown’s The Last American Aristocrat chronicles the charmed life of Henry Adams. Adams seems to be removed from the here and now, in Boston, in Europe, in marriage, in his writings and friendships. Sardonic, critical, conservative in his observations he can never escape the Adams’ shadows. His wife’s (Clover) suicide created more emotional ennui which he treated with writing and travel. An enigmatic but still conventional 19th c American who met every president from Zachary Taylor to Woodr David Brown’s The Last American Aristocrat chronicles the charmed life of Henry Adams. Adams seems to be removed from the here and now, in Boston, in Europe, in marriage, in his writings and friendships. Sardonic, critical, conservative in his observations he can never escape the Adams’ shadows. His wife’s (Clover) suicide created more emotional ennui which he treated with writing and travel. An enigmatic but still conventional 19th c American who met every president from Zachary Taylor to Woodrow Wilson.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Robert Melnyk

    Fairly interesting book about the life and times of Henry Adams (grandson of John Quincy Adams and great grandson of John Adams). The book does a good job of detailing the life of Henry Adams, but I found it a bit slow moving. I don't think his life was, at least to me, as interesting as the life and times of either of his famous ancestors. Worth the read if you are into American History, but not nearly as good as John Adams, by David McCullough. Fairly interesting book about the life and times of Henry Adams (grandson of John Quincy Adams and great grandson of John Adams). The book does a good job of detailing the life of Henry Adams, but I found it a bit slow moving. I don't think his life was, at least to me, as interesting as the life and times of either of his famous ancestors. Worth the read if you are into American History, but not nearly as good as John Adams, by David McCullough.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Henry G. Nadeau

    An academic slog but it was a peek into a life very different than mine but with commonality through shared emotions and travels. Interesting look into the lives of other characters in American D.C. political life post civil war. Also, convinced he was the last American aristocrat (male of female). However, when it was done, I certainly didn't find it a waste of time and would encourage certain friends to read it An academic slog but it was a peek into a life very different than mine but with commonality through shared emotions and travels. Interesting look into the lives of other characters in American D.C. political life post civil war. Also, convinced he was the last American aristocrat (male of female). However, when it was done, I certainly didn't find it a waste of time and would encourage certain friends to read it

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    A fascinating chronicle of Harvard professor Henry Adams, a Gilded Age intellectual who revolutionized the teaching of history, ranking intellectual concepts over facts and date, and whose "The Education of Henry Adams" and "Mont St. Michel and Chartres" rank as 20th century classics. Adams exemplifies the 19th century man of letters, whose engrained Brahmin prejudices (anti-Semitism, eugenics, anti-labor, and racism) could not overcome his innate distaste for imperialism and corporate greed. A fascinating chronicle of Harvard professor Henry Adams, a Gilded Age intellectual who revolutionized the teaching of history, ranking intellectual concepts over facts and date, and whose "The Education of Henry Adams" and "Mont St. Michel and Chartres" rank as 20th century classics. Adams exemplifies the 19th century man of letters, whose engrained Brahmin prejudices (anti-Semitism, eugenics, anti-labor, and racism) could not overcome his innate distaste for imperialism and corporate greed.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Martin

    This book brings Henry Adams to life. He is dwarfed by his famous great grandfather and grandfather who were U.S. Presidents. Although he possessed a prickly personality and could harbor regressive views on society, his historical writing is top notch. Brown is a professor of history at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania and this is his latest foray into biography. He did a stellar job with this book and kept me interested in Adams from cover to cover.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Marshall

    A good look at Henry Adams 102 years after his death.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This book was definitely a huge historical undertaking. There was a lot of buzz about this book and it is definitely a heavy-hitter in academic circles. I love history and was going into it with high hopes of a very interesting read, but I found the book to be rather dry. I have so far stopped about 1/3 of the way into the book so bear that in mind when you read this review. It may very well get better later in the book. I am still interested in finishing, but it will probably take me a very long This book was definitely a huge historical undertaking. There was a lot of buzz about this book and it is definitely a heavy-hitter in academic circles. I love history and was going into it with high hopes of a very interesting read, but I found the book to be rather dry. I have so far stopped about 1/3 of the way into the book so bear that in mind when you read this review. It may very well get better later in the book. I am still interested in finishing, but it will probably take me a very long time. I have definitely learned a lot so far, and for that it gets 4 stars. There are always parallels to our life today that one can glean from a historical book like this one, and that part I am enjoying a lot. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC as a reviewer.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah B. Rydelek

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brownt

  19. 4 out of 5

    Phil Jones

  20. 5 out of 5

    Orest

  21. 4 out of 5

    Philip Sealey

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Connie Shaffer

  24. 5 out of 5

    Benita

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jarrett Neal

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ted Kimball

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  30. 5 out of 5

    Pam

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