John Quincy and Louisa Adams’sunexpected journey that changed everything.
American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure acrossforbidding oceans and frozen tundra—from the bustling ports and toweringbirches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arcticSt. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Uponthese varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transformtheir banishment into America’s salvation.
Author,historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life intoonce-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestrythat reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespeareandrama in a Jane Austen era, AmericanPhoenix is a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance ofworks on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generationof John Quincy and Louisa and beyond.
Cookhas crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understandhistory filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble,freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character—acolorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues andrabble-rousers—she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincyand Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy’s devastation after losingthe job of his dreams, battle for America’s need to thrive economically, andsojourn to secure his homeland’s survival as a sovereign nation. She reservesher most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using thisquietly inspirational woman’s own words to amplify her fears, faith, andfortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook’s close-upperspective shows how this American couple’s Russian destination changed USdestiny.