The Christian Science Monitor

Bumper crop of new US presidents biographies reflects the challenges they all faced

Whichever the reason – fear or jubilation, despair or joy – readers all over the world in 2017 are intensely interested in the office of the president of the United States. News stories every day examine with fresh urgency the powers of the office, not least the strange, almost unaccountable ways the occupant of the Oval Office sometimes reflects and sometimes distorts the zeitgeist of the nation. 

Those readers now have a bumper crop of new biographies of US presidents to read, biographies covering a dozen or more, the latest book from Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Gordon S. Wood, which examines with deep research and understated eloquence the rifts and reconciliations of the country's second president, crabby, conservative John Adams, and its third, the aristocratic Thomas Jefferson. Wood's book is a fascinating look at the similarities and differences of these two men who Benjamin Rush described as the north and soul poles of the American Revolution.

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