john-adams-miniseries-1The Five Star Friday choice this week is the HBO series, John Adams starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams.    It is a timely reminder that politics was as ugly in our country’s infancy as it is now that the USA is in our, what, our toddler ‘no’ stage? Teenage rebellion years?

The mini-series was based on David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography. I’m recommending the DVD because it can be more readily understood and enjoyed by younger family members.



Plus, the series provides insight into Adams -not universally considered an A-List president ala Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln.

At times it seems that our second president is the neglected middle-child between George and Thomas.   Washington gets recognition and respect just for being the first.  And the third in line, Jefferson, liked luxurious homes, wanted others (slaves) to do his chores, and retreated to the safety of Monticello rather than stay in Philadelphia when things went badly.  Behavior that reminds me of a younger sister I know.

Adams on the other hand, rolled up his sleeves and completed his duties when at home and in government service despite the hardship of being away from his beloved wife.  And the loving partnership between John and Abigail is worth the time spent watching the DVDs or reading the book.

In fact, Nadamsew York Times reviewer Pauline Maier wrote that McCullough originally intended to write a joint biography about Adams and Jefferson.  But it was Adams’s strength of character as well as the love story between John and Abigail that led him to focus solely on Adams.

It’s a needed reminder that the cut-throat-character-defaming behavior of our founding fathers didn’t prevent them from getting the Declaration of Independence written and seeing the fledgling country through the revolution.

Also by McCullough1776

1776 – Based on extensive research in both American and British archives, 1776 is the story of Americans in the ranks, men of every shape, size, and color, farmers, schoolteachers, shoemakers, no-accounts, and mere boys turned soldiers.

trumanbioTruman – Drawing on newly discovered archival material and extensive interviews with Truman’s own family, friends, and Washington colleagues, McCullough tells the deeply moving story of the seemingly ordinary “man from Missouri” who was perhaps the most courageous president in our history.


Happy Viewing and Voting, Susan C.

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