Review: John Adams HBO Series

While at the beach my parents and I watched the HBO series “John Adams.”John Adams. The series was based on David McCullough’s book of the same name, which was an excellent book if you haven’t read it. I thought the series was quite well done, and enjoyed the sets, costumes, and acting tremendously.

Although historically accurate and therefore pretty G rated, I would say the series is not for the faint of heart. You may have read about tarring and feathering, for example, but it’s pretty jarring to see it enacted. Likewise, the scenes of surgery without anesthesia were fairly disturbing.

What struck me most about both the series and the book was what a terrible father John Adams was, because he allowed his pride to take precedence over his wife and children. The impact on the children is shown well in both mediums, and the movie especially takes pains to show Adams’ decision to leave the family for YEARS abroad because his pride would not let him say no. He claimed to Abigail that “Congress wouldn’t let me say no.” Right, because they were going to shoot him in the head if he didn’t go. So Adams went off to Europe where he was hopelessly ineffective and useless, leaving his wife behind to tend the farm and raise the children, and assuming I guess that his sons and daughter would turn out fine without a father. Sheesh.

Adams’ pride gets him at every turn, and I wonder if he might not have had even a greater influence on his times if he had not been so crippled by hubris.

I’d recommend the series, and the book. Has anyone else seen it?

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