This blogger is a champion of John Adams, our second president. When I came upon a new title referencing his great grandson, Henry Adams, it piqued my interest. The book is THE LAST AMERICAN ARISTOCRAT, The BRILLIANT LIFE and IMPROBABLE EDUCATION of
Henry Adams by historian Davis S. Brown. As it turns out, Henry Adams is a “famous” Adams in his own right, in addition to being the grandson of President John Quincy Adams.
Raised in the elite environment of Boston’s Gilded age, the late 19th century, ADAMS was of course thought of as a third Adams in the White House. That was not to be but the book is a wonderful study of the transition of Boston’s political power and national influence from Beacon Hill to Washington D.C.
Henry Adams, ordained not to be among the politically chosen becomes the observer, even the muckraker and attains worldwide recognition as an author and columnist. His memoir The Education of Henry ADAMS becomes and remains a literary classic. Henry Adams in his life and writings, “Became a transitional figure, one bridging the chasm between ‘colonial’ and ‘modern’” America. Brown’s book is also a deep dive into Adam’s personal life, the highs and lows and how it was to be the Adams who had to be satisfied by building a home on Lafayette Square in Washington, DC, which was as close as this Adams would come to the White House.
A fascinating figure in American history, Henry Adams influenced the dialogue during the country’s transition through industrialization, becoming a world power and witnessing the explosion of scientific invention. Without political portfolio with the exception of the Adams name he socialized with and influenced such legendary figures as Secretary of State John Hay, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge and Teddy Roosevelt. He was the “outsider” very much on the inside.