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Mr. Adams's Last Crusade

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Unique among ex-presidents, John Quincy Adams followed his presidency with 17 years as a congressman. In Mr. Adams’s Last Crusade, Joseph Wheelan argues that his years in the House, rather than the White House, are his crowning achievement. Not that Adams accomplished much there either, but he did serve as Congress? lonely conscience, advocating for the rights of women, Indians, and slaves (particularly in the famous Amistad case) when no one else would. Wheelan?s pedestrian prose and unsupported generalizations don?t help his case, but his generous quoting from Adams? self-critical memoirs helps bring him to life. For all Crusade?s overly effusive praise, it does reveal a statesman/scientist/orator worth admiring. B-

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