The Problem of Democracy by Nancy Isenberg audiobook

The Problem of Democracy: The Presidents Adams Confront the Cult of Personality

By Nancy Isenberg  and Andrew Burstein
Read by Robert Petkoff

Penguin Audio
22.25 Hours 1
Format : Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781984842848

"Told with authority and style. . . Crisply summarizing the Adamses' legacy, the authors stress principle over partisanship."--The Wall Street Journal How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy, from the New York Times bestselling author of White Trash. John and John Quincy Adams: rogue intellectuals, unsparing truth-tellers, too uncensored for their own political good. They held that political participation demanded moral courage. They did not seek popularity (it showed). They lamented the fact that hero worship in America substituted idolatry for results; and they made it clear that they were talking about Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. When John Adams succeeded George Washington as President, his son had already followed him into public service and was stationed in Europe as a diplomat. Though they spent many years apart--and as their careers spanned Europe, Washington DC, and their family home south of Boston--they maintained a close bond through extensive letter writing, debating history, political philosophy, and partisan maneuvering. The problem of democracy is an urgent problem; the father-and-son presidents grasped the perilous psychology of politics and forecast what future generations would have to contend with: citizens wanting heroes to worship and covetous elites more than willing to mislead. Rejection at the polls, each after one term, does not prove that the presidents Adams had erroneous ideas. Intellectually, they were what we today call "independents," reluctant to commit blindly to an organized political party. No historian has attempted to dissect their intertwined lives as Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein do in these pages, and there is no better time than the present to learn from the American nation's most insightful malcontents.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice

A BookPage Top Pick of the Month in History

"Told with authority and style. . . Crisply summarizing the Adamses' legacy, the authors stress principle over partisanship."--The Wall Street Journal How the father and son presidents foresaw the rise of the cult of personality and fought those who sought to abuse the weaknesses inherent in our democracy, from the New York Times bestselling author of White Trash. John and John Quincy Adams: rogue intellectuals, unsparing truth-tellers, too uncensored for their own political good. They held that political participation demanded moral courage. They did not seek popularity (it showed). They lamented the fact that hero worship in America substituted idolatry for results; and they made it clear that they were talking about Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson. When John Adams succeeded George Washington as President, his son had already followed him into public service and was stationed in Europe as a diplomat. Though they spent many years apart--and as their careers spanned Europe, Washington DC, and their family home south of Boston--they maintained a close bond through extensive letter writing, debating history, political philosophy, and partisan maneuvering. The problem of democracy is an urgent problem; the father-and-son presidents grasped the perilous psychology of politics and forecast what future generations would have to contend with: citizens wanting heroes to worship and covetous elites more than willing to mislead. Rejection at the polls, each after one term, does not prove that the presidents Adams had erroneous ideas. Intellectually, they were what we today call "independents," reluctant to commit blindly to an organized political party. No historian has attempted to dissect their intertwined lives as Nancy Isenberg and Andrew Burstein do in these pages, and there is no better time than the present to learn from the American nation's most insightful malcontents.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“A top-notch dual biography…An unsettling yet well-presented argument that the failures of John and John Quincy Adams illustrate a disturbing feature of American politics.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A densely packed double-decker reassessment of the lives and political foresight of father-and-son presidents…[and] a staunch warning against the ills of the partisanship, corruption, and personality politics that are rampant today.” Publishers Weekly
“This daring, lucid, and provocative book exposes the deep roots of contemporary demagogues and their polarizing deceptions.” Alan Taylor, author of American Revolutions
“Better than any previous Adams chroniclers, they have identified the essential theme that persisted through both men’s lives: one which concerns us now more than ever.” David Waldstreicher, editor of The Diaries of John Quincy Adams, 1779-1848

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Nancy Isenberg

Author Bio: Nancy Isenberg

Nancy Isenberg is the author of the New York Times bestseller White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America and two award-winning books, Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr and Sex and Citizenship in Antebellum America. She is the coauthor with Andrew Burstein of The Problem of Democracy and Madison and Jefferson. She is the T. Harry Williams Professor of American History at Louisiana State University.

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Author Bio: Andrew Burstein

Author Bio: Andrew Burstein

Andrew Burstein is the Charles P. Manship professor of history at Louisiana State University and the author, most recently of Democracy’s Muse. He has written numerous history books and biographies including Lincoln Dreamt He Died and Jefferson’s Secrets. Best known as a Jefferson scholar, Professor Burstein has taught courses at LSU for many years as well as others universities. He received an MA from the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan and a PhD in history from the University of Virginia.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/Biography
Runtime: 22.25
Audience: Adult
Language: English