June 12, 2013

American Phoenix by Jane Cook

American Phoenix by Jane Cook is a well-researched book about John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa. If you are interested in American history, and presidential biographies, this is a book you’ll want to read.

Book Description
American Phoenix tells the gripping story of John Quincy Adams’s “honorable exile” during the War of 1812 and the harrowing journey of his wife, Louisa, to be reunited with her family.

American diplomat John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa, had two things in common with the audacious Napoleon Bonaparte—speaking perfect French and living in exile. American Phoenix reveals the untold true story of Quincy’s unexpected nomination as the top US envoy to Russia in 1809, and Louisa’s agony at being forced to leave their six- and eight-year old boys behind in Boston. Believing that ambition can never repay such sacrifice, she clings to the hope of reuniting with her sons in a year. Pretention, royal dissipation, extreme weather, covert political maneuvers, French interference, private tragedy, and two great wars trap them in St. Petersburg longer than their worst fears. Their personal story is soon swept into the public drama of Napoleon’s war with Russia and America’s war with Great Britain, which ultimately force John Quincy and Louisa to live apart. When Napoleon escapes his exile, his march to reclaim Paris threatens to forever separate John Quincy and Louisa from each other and their children back home.
American Phoenix uncovers the challenges, fears, sorrows, joys, triumphs, and faith that come when life—no matter the era—takes an unexpected journey.” – American Phoenix

My Thoughts
American Phoenix is a really good historical memoir about the President and the first lady in the 1800s. Admittedly, I did not know very much about them until I read this book. This book is focused on their years from 1809 to 1812. It is filled with a sense of historical patriotism and intrigue that history buffs will enjoy.

Although it isn’t fully a memoir, as the author did make up some of the content, I can tell that is was thoroughly researched, and the quality of the writing makes it an easy and educational read. I enjoyed reading it, and would definitely recommend it for all Americans, and of course, people who enjoy reading historical novels and biographies.

* Thank you to the publisher of American Phoenix, Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of this book for review as part of their “Book Sneeze” program. All opinions expressed are my own.

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