This summer I enjoyed reading American Phoenix by Jane Hampton Cook. It is about John Quincy and Louisa Adams, the War of 1812, and the exile that saved American Independence. With the book being over 500 pages and being somewhat deep reading and since I tend to read quite a few books at once, it did indeed take me most of the Summer to get it read but I truly enjoyed the read.
I have long had an interest in the Adams family. Mostly because I shared a name with Abigail Adams - John Quincy's mother. So when I was young I was given a book about her and have read whatever I can find about her since that time. A few years ago we were given another hugely thick book about John Adams and I enjoyed that as well so I was happy to have the opportunity to learn more about John Quincy and his wife Louisa.
I knew John Quincy had quite the resume from being secretary for his father when John Adams was a minister to other counties, and then going on to representing the United States in foreign countries on his own, then being a Senator, President and a Member of the House of Representatives (the only President to do that after being president) but I didn't know much about the man other than some things I had heard about his study of the Bible and other books.
This book had oodles of information that we very well researched and written out about their time in Russia and his large influence on ending the War of 1812. The Author was able to write in such a way that would make me put myself in his or Louisa's shoes and think what things would have really been like. I suppose it helped that I am involved in politics and that after visiting with congressmen and those that have run for a seat I had already thought about how much politicians sacrifice in order to serve their country (One that I visited with was able to spend time with his family every other weekend - I would really not like that!). However what current politicians sacrifice is pretty much nothing compared to what people like John Quincy went through. He decided to leave their older children in America while they went to Russia so that they would have good schooling (against Louisa's wishes) hoping that he would be home again in less than a year but it ended up that they didn't see their children again for years! (6, I believe). I can only imagine how hard that would be. They also went over to Russia on their own money and weren't paid for months and months and meanwhile were face with a very expensive lifestyle expected of them in Russia.
If you enjoy American history I think you would enjoy this book which peeks into a story that is not very well known.
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