“John Adams: Party of One” is James Grant’s fifth of seven books, and one of two he has written on topics unrelated to his most well-known competency: finance. Grant is best known as founder and editor of the iconic Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, a financial journal widely-read on Wall Street. Published in 2005, Grant’s “John Adams” is one of the most recent biographies written about our second president.
As the last of several biographies I will read on John Adams, I expected Grant’s biography to be one of the easiest to read. After all, this was not my first John Adams rodeo and assuming I’m capable of retaining facts over a limited number of weeks, very little of Adams’ life should be unknown to me by now. I therefore assumed the only real effort in reading this biography would be to understand the author’s perspective on Adams as compared to those of previous authors.
Much to my surprise, I found this a difficult book to digest, but not because the author’s word choice was esoteric or abstruse. On the contrary, the book was written in straightforward language with less grandiloquent phraseology than many others. At times, in fact, the book actually bordered on being sterile and passionless, almost a matter-of-fact rendering of historical events. But what I found particularly frustrating at times was…
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