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Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams” by Joseph J. Ellis was published in 1993.  Though it remains a relatively well-read title on our second president, in terms of sheer popularity and acclaim it has been overshadowed by more recent John Adams biographies. Of the modern books on Adams in my library (everything since Page Smith’s series) “Passionate Sage” is one of the oldest and seemingly the most unique.

Somewhat to my surprise, “Passionate Sage” is not actually a biography at all. Instead, it is more a character analysis of John Adams and, at times, almost as much a book of philosophy as of history.  That fact alone makes it no more or less interesting to me than the traditional Adams biographies I’m reading, but does make it difficult to directly compare this work to the others.

Ellis’ key thesis is quickly proposed: that John Adams (at least as of the date of publication) remains one of the most misunderstood and underappreciated of American’s Founding Fathers…

– Click here for the full review at BestPresidentialBios.com –

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