Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Book Review: American Phoenix by Jane Cook


American Phoenix:  John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the Exile that Saved American Independence by Jane Cook.  This book covers about five years of the Adams' lives, the time they spent in Russia representing the United States of America.  John Quincy Adams lost his Senate seat earlier, sending him back into private life where he did not want to be.  The only possible way to resurrect his political career was to take this so-called exile to Russia.  While they were there, the War of 1812 occurred, and when it was over (we won!), there was a treaty to be drafted.  Adams' work on the Treaty of Ghent led to his being recalled to the States for another position which led to another which...eventually led to the presidency.

But this book is about the years the Adams' lived in Russia.  It almost reads like a novel because both John and Louisa wrote copiously in their journals, so we can know what they thought about the things they lived through.  I found this book very interesting as it described the way of life back then, how different it was for American ministers in foreign countries as they vied for favor with other diplomats funded by monarchies.

When I saw how long this book was, I started to regret my decision to review it.  But once I started reading it, I was glad that I had!  If you're interested at all in American history, I think you'll enjoy this book.

I want to thank BookSneeze for my copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

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