No customer reviews. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a product review. Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon. Verified Purchase. This is an interesting edition -- very wide format, so a bit awkward to handle. As to the contents -- this is widely known as a difficult book to read, and I agree wholeheartedly. Takes real commitment to slog through it. Very difficult to believe it won a Pulitzer!
But it has its rewards. The book covers a fascinating range of US history, from before the Civil War into the early years of the 20th century under President Roosevelt. Henry knew and writes of an incredible array of people from politics, the arts, and society.
And his travels took him to Paris. London, the South Pacific, the Rockies, and throughout Europe. The vocabulary and constant references to historical figures, events, mythology and literature almost demand constant side trips to look up the references. So reading it on a Kindle might be easier because you have access to the definitions and so on directly from the device.
I spoent a lot of time on Wikipedia and other sites while I was trying to read this! This American classic is a reader's delight and one almost does not know where to begin, but here are a few impressions. This is an autobiography-apologia written in the third person, not only the third person but a lordly third person much in the manner royalty refers to themselves in the royal first person. So we have "he " instead of "we. What were antebellum attitudes like in the Unitarian Church of Boston, Massachusetts, the nation as a whole you have it here. Too complex yet interesting are his views on otherness i.
Even his asides as to what his feelings, emotions and observations about the members of the US Senate, Risorgimento Italy, Garabaldi, Rome pre-tourism flood are food for thought and of course education French style, German style, New England style do not forget he saw the different cultural boundaries in America are not only prescient but almost prophetic the shift in the English - French- German - American - alliances. Truly he was an American De Tocqueville. A profound experience, this is still one of the great books of American literature.
Education of Henry Adams (Economy Editions) - AbeBooks - Henry Adams: X
Quite a philosophical autobiography that was never intended to be published. No doubt, such perfect poise — such intuitive self-adjustment — was not maintained by nature without a sacrifice of the qualities which would have upset it. No doubt, too, that even his restless-minded, introspective, self-conscious children who knew him best were much too ignorant of the world and of human nature to suspect how rare and complete was the model before their eyes. A coarser instrument would have impressed them more.
Average human nature is very coarse, and its ideals must necessarily be average. The world never loved perfect poise. What the world does love is commonly absence of poise, for it has to be amused. Napoleons and Andrew Jacksons amuse it, but it is not amused by perfect balance.
Had Mr. Adams's nature been cold, he would have followed Mr. Webster, Mr. Everett, Mr. Seward, and Mr.
Winthrop in the lines of party discipline and self-interest. Had it been less balanced than it was, he would have gone with Mr. Garrison, Mr. Wendell Phillips, Mr. Edmund Quincy, and Theodore Parker, into secession.
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Between the two paths he found an intermediate one, distinctive and characteristic — he set up a party of his own. This political party became a chief influence in the education of the boy Henry in the six years to , and violently affected his character at the moment when character is plastic. The group of men with whom Mr. Adams associated himself, and whose social centre was the house in Mount Vernon Street, numbered only three: Dr. John G. Palfrey, Richard H. Dana, and Charles Sumner.
Palfrey was the oldest, and in spite of his clerical education, was to a boy often the most agreeable, for his talk was lighter and his range wider than that of the others; he had wit, or humor, and the give-and-take of dinner-table exchange.
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Dana at first suggested the opposite; he affected to be still before the mast, a direct, rather bluff, vigorous seaman, and only as one got to know him better one found the man of rather excessive refinement trying with success to work like a day-laborer, deliberately hardening his skin to the burden, as though he were still carrying hides at Monterey. Undoubtedly he succeeded, for his mind and will were robust, but he might have said what his lifelong friend William M. Evarts used to say: "I pride myself on my success in doing not the things I like to do, but the things I don't like to do.
Of the four men, Dana was the most marked. Without dogmatism or self-assertion, he seemed always to be fully in sight, a figure that completely filled a well-defined space. He, too, talked well, and his mind worked close to its subject, as a lawyer's should; but disguise and silence it as he liked, it was aristocratic to the tenth generation.
In that respect, and in that only, Charles Sumner was like him, but Sumner, in almost every other quality, was quite different from his three associates — altogether out of line. He, too, adored English standards, but his ambition led him to rival the career of Edmund Burke. No young Bostonian of his time had made so brilliant a start, but rather in the steps of Edward Everett than of Daniel Webster. As an orator he had achieved a triumph by his oration against war; but Boston admired him chiefly for his social success in England and on the Continent; success that gave to every Bostonian who enjoyed it a halo never acquired by domestic sanctity.
Sumner, both by interest and instinct, felt the value of his English connection, and cultivated it the more as he became socially an outcast from Boston society by the passions of politics. He was rarely without a pocket-full of letters from duchesses or noblemen in England. Having sacrificed to principle his social position in America, he clung the more closely to his foreign attachments.
The social arbiters of Boston — George Ticknor and the rest — had to admit, however unwillingly, that the Free Soil leaders could not mingle with the friends and followers of Mr. Sumner was socially ostracized, and so, for that matter, were Palfrey, Dana, Russell, Adams, and all the other avowed anti-slavery leaders, but for them it mattered less, because they had houses and families of their own; while Sumner had neither wife nor household, and, though the most socially ambitious of all, and the most hungry for what used to be called polite society, he could enter hardly half-a-dozen houses in Boston.
Longfellow stood by him in Cambridge, and even in Beacon Street he could always take refuge in the house of Mr. Lodge, but few days passed when he did not pass some time in Mount Vernon Street.
Even with that, his solitude was glacial, and reacted on his character. He had nothing but himself to think about. His superiority was, indeed, real and incontestable; he was the classical ornament of the anti-slavery party; their pride in him was unbounded, and their admiration outspoken. The boy Henry worshipped him, and if he ever regarded any older man as a personal friend, it was Mr.
The relation of Mr. Sumner in the household was far closer than any relation of blood. None of the uncles approached such intimacy. Sumner was the boy's ideal of greatness; the highest product of nature and art. The only fault of such a model was its superiority which defied imitation.
To the twelve-year-old boy, his father, Dr.