Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams

An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John QuincyAn intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time Born in London to an American father and a British mother on the eve of the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was raised in circumstances very different from the New England upbringing of the future president John Quincy Adams, whose life had been dedicated to public service from the earliest age And yet John Quincy fell in love with her, almost despite himself Their often tempestuous but deeply close marriage lasted half a century They lived in Prussia, Massachusetts, Washington, Russia, and England, at royal courts, on farms, in cities, and in the White House Louisa saw of Europe and America than nearly any other woman of her time But wherever she lived, she was always pressing her nose against the glass, not quite sure whether she was looking in or out The other members of the Adams family could take their identity for granted they were Adamses they were Americans but she had to invent her own The story of Louisa Catherine Adams is one of a woman who forged a sense of self As the country her husband led found its place in the world, she found a voice That voice resonates still In this deeply felt biography, the talented journalist and historian Louisa Thomas finally gives Louisa Catherine Adams s full extraordinary life its due An intimate portrait of a remarkable woman, a complicated marriage, and a pivotal historical moment, Louisa Thomas s biography is a masterful work from an elegant storyteller.
Louisa The Extraordinary Life of Mrs Adams An intimate portrait of Louisa Catherine Adams the wife of John Quincy Adams who witnessed firsthand the greatest transformations of her time Born in London to an American father and a British mothe

  • Title: Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams
  • Author: Louisa Thomas
  • ISBN: 9781594204630
  • Page: 372
  • Format: Hardcover
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      372 Louisa Thomas
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      Posted by:Louisa Thomas
      Published :2018-06-23T20:03:07+00:00

    About the Author

    Louisa Thomas

    Louisa Thomas is the author of Conscience Two Soldiers, Two Pacifists, One Family a Test of Will and Faith in World War I She is a former writer for Grantland and a former fellow at the New America Foundation Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and other places.

    737 Comment

    • Chrissie said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Review to come. I have to figure out why I cannot give this more than three stars. I know I liked it, but how could it have been improved? What was missing? Please remember that three stars is nevertheless a book I can recommend to others.**********************I didn't know much about Louisa, the wife of John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the US. He was the son of the more famed John Adams, the second US President. What I knew I had learned from John Adams by the fantastic author David Mc [...]

    • Louise said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      This book is a portrait of a marriage more than it is a biography. Perhaps for Louisa Johnson Adams, that is how it was. Without John Quincy Adams she would never be known to history; without her, he would probably not have been president. It was a 19th century marriage in which he held all the cards.The courtship was awkward (as were most of the time) she was under pressure to marry and he was healing a broken heart. He was unaware of her family’s baggage (none of Louisa Johnson’s own doing [...]

    • Rama said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      An intimate portrait of the First Lady Louisa Adams This is an excellent biography of the First Lady Louisa Adams, the wife of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams (1825-1829). Born and raised in England, she was the only First Lady to have been born outside of the United States, and came to this country four years after her marriage to John Quincy Adams. This book chronicles her role as the daughter-in-law of President John Adams and later plays a significant role in the career of her husband [...]

    • Bfisher said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      LouisaWhen Louisa Johnson married John Quincy Adams in 1797 at the age of 22, she exercised the only significant decision allowed to her in her life.Accompanying her husband as the American envoy to Berlin, she endured a miscarriage in Berlin under the advantage of cutting-edge late 18th century medicine; it took her a week to discharge the foetus. According to the author, the best estimate is that she endured four miscarriages between 1797 and 1800. While trying to supply the deficit of her hus [...]

    • Jeanette said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      LOOOONG book! What a life!Louisa Thomas does the kind of job on this biography that I could only wish would be so superbly done for several other women in our USA 250 year history. The research! Locations she lived- her entire life in rotation, decades lived out of trunks. Five countries that she lived in for at least 4 or 5 year periods at a time, that I counted. Great Britain, France, Germany, USA, Russia. And the numbers of cities in those countries- too many to count. The marriage relationsh [...]

    • Diane S ☔ said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Review to follow.

    • David Eppenstein said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      If I had seen this book in a bookstore I might have picked it up to learn who Louisa was. Upon discovering that she was the wife of John Quincy Adams I would probably have put the book back down. I had never heard of Louisa Adams though I did know who her husband was. As I never had any interest in the life of John Quincy why would a biography of his wife be worth reading about? Thanks to a GR friend that had read and reviewed this book I was saved from making this mistake. I learned from readin [...]

    • Sterlingcindysu said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      4.5 rounded up. Even though this is a biography it reads as a historical novel in the descriptions. For example, when James Monroe goes to his 2nd inauguration in 1820 he is wearing knee breeches, white stockings and silver buckles and everyone snickers because of his Revolutionary War attire. It would be the same as if Obama wore a leisure suit or bell bottoms and love beads to his inauguration. That's the type of research that makes history fascinating. Why didn't Elizabeth Monroe dress her hu [...]

    • Jean Poulos said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Many years ago I read a book about Louisa Adams and was impressed with her courage in traveling alone with child and servant from St. Petersburg to Paris. She crossed Russia in winter through war zones on a troika. When I heard an interview with Louisa Thomas about her new book about Louisa Adams I bought it right away.Louisa was born in England and educated in Catholic schools in both England and France. After marrying John Q. Adams they lived in Europe and she perfected the role of a diplomat [...]

    • Marian Beaman said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Writer/journalist Louisa Thomas turns tedious history into an elegant narrative of the life of Louisa Catherine Adams, First Lady during John Quincy Adams’ presidency. Daughter of Joshua Johnson, a Southerner, and Catherine Newth of England, Louisa’s parents did not marry until she was ten years old and could not provide a dowry for her marriage to Adams because of her father’s financial straits. Yet she persisted: knew French, craved books, and expressed her “suppressed intelligence” [...]

    • Susan said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      This is a fascinating biography of Louisa Catherine Adams, wife of President John Quincy Adams. It follows her life from her earliest years in London, where she was born to an American father and British mother to her marriage to John Quincy Adams and their travels and adventures together across Europe and back to the U.S. where John Q. Adams would become President. From London, in 1797 they headed to Prussia where John Quincy was to represent the new nation at the court in Berlin. In 1801 Louis [...]

    • Anna said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      In my memory of learning US history in school John Quincy Adams was one of the pass-over presidents who was mostly famous for being the son of a former president, and of course I knew nothing of his wife, so this book was a real eye-opener. Louisa as portrayed by this book is very human, by times brave, resourceful and pioneering, but also annoying, needy, and depressed. She lived a remarkable life for any time period and particularly for her time period. A mostly engaging read, but occasionally [...]

    • Laura said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      I don't think I've ever read a biography of a woman that I identified with so much, especially one who lived over 200 years ago. It's not that Louisa and I are the same person, or even have many personality traits in common (she loved the courts of Europe; I would have loved the libraries). But she wrestled with the role of a woman, and that is a struggle I identify with. Louisa found it very complicated to be a woman: drawn to strong women who knew their minds, she always claimed to be a tradit [...]

    • Cassie said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      I picked up this (audio)book without having much knowledge about Louisa Adams. I've been cured.It's full of stories about both her private life--including the number of great tragedies she suffered losing family members--and the public life she led. From Berlin, to Russia, to London, and America, Louisa rubbed elbows with all the great politicians and leaders of the time. And maybe because of the fact that she was so often surrounded by "greatness" (not only foreign leaders, but her president fa [...]

    • Jill said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      The author spent five years researching and writing this book on Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of the sixth U.S. President, John Quincy Adams. In “The Wall Street Journal” Book Section on April 15, 2016, Jane Kamensky reviews a new book on Abigail Adams, observing: “If you can name one woman from the era of the American Revolution, it’s likely Abigail Adams.” Louisa Adams, as limned by Louisa Thomas, sounds every bit as remarkable as Abigail - maybe more so - and yet there has not b [...]

    • Edward said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Well researched and a really interesting read. I had previously read a rather dry book about Louisa's 2,000 mile trip from St. Petersburg to Paris in 1815, but in this book it was fascinating. Louisa couldn't write letters when she first married, but her knowledge and her ability to convey her feelings in words grew as time went by, and so we are left with a body of letters and autobiographical writings filled with emotions and her interactions of the periods she lived in. Louisa was flawed, as [...]

    • Lesley said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      LOUISA is a historical read on John Quincy Adams' wife Louisa Johnson Quincy. This book details her life from early childhood through her marriage and family life and widowhood and death. Most people are more knowledgeable about John and Abigail Adams than their son John Quincy and his wife. This read was informative about a little known figure in American history, but I found most of the book dry and dull as if I myself were doing the research for the writer instead of reading the final product [...]

    • Carol said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Louisa Catherine Adams lived a life that seemed made for all to tell. Although she was born in London, at the dawning of the American Revolution, and to a father (who was American) and a mother who was English. She spent her early years in Europe, first with her family, then as the wife of a diplomat who went on to become president, John Quincy Adams. Louisa's penchant for writing gave her abundant of correspondence (also a diary, poetry, plays, fiction and three fragmentary autobiographical acc [...]

    • San Diego Book Review said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Reviewed by Kelsey Kaline“Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams” by Louisa Thomas gives a well researched and comprehensive glimpse into the life of Louisa Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams. At first it was hard to imagine that Louisa Adams would have a riveting biography of 457 pages, and I must admit there were other people higher on my list to read about. If I would be in the habit of wearing a hat, I would gladly eat it at this point. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the look [...]

    • Bookforum Magazine said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      "Louisa is not an argumentative biography, and Thomas does not turn Adams into a poster child for forgotten, overlooked, or suppressed womankind.Louisa Adams was not a victim, and is certainly not the victim of her biographer."–Brenda Wineapple on Louisa Thomas' Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams in the Summer 2016 issue of Bookforum To read the rest of this review, go to Bookforum:bookforum/inprint/

    • Sue said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      It is an approachable biography. There were times I wished Louisa's life was described with more detail, but I think the author was limited in the details available. But here is my biggest beef. Why no pictures? There are portraits of Louisa. There are illustrations of Quincy and other places she lived. I love pictures in biographies and not having them was disappointing.

    • Gina Baratono said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      I am always interested in the lives of the First Ladies, especially those of our earliest Presidents.This book focuses on Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States. Louisa served as First Lady from 1825-1829. She was born in London in 1775, and was witness to many historical events. In fact, she met her future husband not in the U.S but in London, where her father was serving as US Consul General when Adams paid a visit. Although Adams was at first interested in [...]

    • Sarah said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Many people can likely tell you about Abigail Adams and the role she played in the shaping of the American republica good number fewer could probably share any information about her daughter in law, Louisa Johnson Adams, let alone about the time period in which her husband, John Quincy Adams participated in public life. Before reading this book, I would have been in that category. I could have told you that John Quincy was the sixth president (and his father the second), as well as told you who [...]

    • Bookish said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      The story of the White House’s other foreign-born First Lady (Melania Trump is only the second) tells the story of the Adams dynasty as well as any book on the founding generation of John and Abigail. Louisa shows what it was like to marry into the monumental family with the pressures placed upon her and her husband, John Quincy. —John R. Bohrer (bookish/articles/book)

    • Fergie said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      ** 3 1/2 stars ** Having read a number of books on John & Abigail Adams, what little I knew of their daughter-in-law, Louisa Catherine Adams, could be deemed, at best, as being only a cursory knowledge. Prior to reading this biography, I had known, for instance, that Louisa was born and raised in England to an American father and British mother. I knew that she had married John Quincy Adams, left her family and all she had known, in pursuit of her wifely duties to a man who was just as devot [...]

    • Pam said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      There's a series of children's books called "You wouldn't want to" ("You wouldn't want to live in a medieval castle" and "You wouldn't want to work on the Great Wall of china"). All I could think of while I was reading "Louisa" was - you wouldn't want to live during Louisa Adams' time. Between (I think I counted) 10 miscarriages, the death of her children, being separated from her sons for their ENTIRE childhood (thanks to her bossy, know-it-all, we-do-it-our-way M.I.L.!) and being married to a [...]

    • ck said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      [ARC courtesy Vine program]This is an immense, meaty book. Its depth and breadth and length are well suited for the exploration of the life of a woman who lived well past the life expectancy of her peers, and one who journeyed both physically and mentally far more than the norm for her time.Born in London and whisked away to Nantes for safety during the Revolutionary War, Louisa Catherine Johnson was the daughter of an American father and English mother and became beloved daughter-in-law to one [...]

    • Diane Moyle said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Louisa Catherine Adams lived an extraordinary existence and Louisa Thomas has brought her accomplishments and tribulations to life in this amazing biography! Louisa Adams was the wife of John Quincy Adams who was president from 1825-1829. She had a lifetime of doubts mainly about herself, starting with the fact that she was not born in America and had to live down the claim that she was not an American. She questioned her worth as a mate and mother. Throughout her lifetime, her health was fragil [...]

    • Brenda Ayala said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      Here is one of those cases where I can't give it more than 3 stars because even though the writing was good (albeit pretty biased as per usual for a biography), Louisa Adams was just not my kind of person. I think the author did an admirable job of trying to make me like her but I couldn't. She was a snobby society girl with blinders on, which was a problem because I don't like snobby people and I don't like people who have blinders on about their family.Louisa is exactly that person. She acted [...]

    • Michele Stern said:
      Sep 18, 2018 - 20:03 PM

      This biography of Louisa Catherine Adams, the wife of John Quincy Adams, is an interesting read. Taken mostly from Mrs. Adams' diary entries, as well as letters she wrote, the reader gets a true feel for the woman who lived and not simply cold, hard facts regarding her life.Louisa Adams, born in England (the only First Lady to have been born outside of the U.S.) to an American father and an English mother, also spent her formative years in France. She and her sisters had been instructed to marry [...]

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