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Free download The Education of Henry Adams 105 Ö The Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams 1838 1918 in early old age to come to terms with the dawning 20th century so different from the world of his youth It is also a sharp critiue of 19th century educational theory and practice In 1907 Adams began privately ciFferent from the world of his youth It is also a sharp critiue of 19th century educational theory and practice In 1907 Adams began privately circulating c. Once this is a story of education not of adventure It is meant to help young men—or such as have intelligence enough to seek help—but it is not meant to amuse them Everyone agrees that this book is difficult and odd An autobiography of an American man of letters the son of a diplomat grandson of a president historian journalist secretary all told in the third person written for his private circle of friends At once claiming to be the story of one man’s life a critiue of the educational methods of the nineteenth century a parable of the fin de siècle and a new theory of history the book is in reality none of the above and is instead the sigh of an old man looking back on his life I must admit that I found this book exasperating in the extreme One uickly gets the impression that when Adams uses the word “education” it is meaningless or worse than meaningless He goes to London with his father and becomes intimately acuainted with the workings of British politics all during the difficult years of the American Civil War and complains that he received no useful “education” He teaches at Harvard for seven years a professor of Medieval History and concludes “On the whole he was content neither with what he had taught nor with the way he had taught it The seven years in teaching seemed to him lost” He becomes a journalist in the capital and then works on a seven volume history of America during Jefferson’s presidency; and still after all this he insists he has received no useful “education” And after every phase of his life when Adams rings the same gloomy bell the reader asks “What on earth would satisfy you Mr Adams” Another exasperating element is the degree to which Adams assumes a familiarity with the intricacies of 19th century politics Reading the chapters when he was in England felt like reading a grocer’s shopkeeping books It was disjointed jerky and worst of all didn’t explain a thing At first I assumed this difficulty resulted from Adams’s originally writing the book for his circle of friends; but the obscurity goes even further it is as if Adams wrote the book only for himself The book swings wildly in tone from dry note taking to half formed and half coherent abstractions all written in a prose style lucidly opaue Adams also gives the impression of being a bit muddle headed He spends some time talking about Lyell’s geology and Darwin’s evolution and it soon becomes apparent he understands neither He goes on long tangents about “force” while it is obvious that what Adams means by that word is as meaningless as what he means by “education” He ends the book on a very confused and seemingly pointless attempt to give a mathematical explanation of history but never reaches above vague commonplaces endlessly repeated I seldom came across an insight of his that was insightful In short the impression was that Adams had taken all of the stuff of his life—his doings his friendships his thoughts his career his background—and left it out to bake in the hot sun until all the savor and succulence was scorched out of it leaving only a tough jerky that wearies the jaw in the attempt to chew the husk Still after all this I must admit that this book has a strange power There were times I could not put it down even when I felt I wasn’t understanding a thing Adams always seemed to be only two steps away from a great insight an astounding thought; but he never uite reaches it which is why the book can seem so tragic He was always searching and never finding; and the reader is left in doubt what he was searching for and whether anyone will ever find it In his elegant knotty prose he turns out aphorism after aphorism—all apparently insightful but in reality empty—popping like soap bubbles leaving nothing but air And what saves the book is that Adams knew this and yet could do nothing better

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Opies of a limited edition printed at his own expense Commercial publication had to await its author's 1918 death whereupon it won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize. Nothing I could write would do justice to The Education of Henry Adams Adams combines erudition keen observation wit and clear prose in creating the best example of the memoirist’s art

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The Education of Henry AdamsThe Education of Henry Adams records the struggle of Bostonian Henry Adams 1838 1918 in early old age to come to terms with the dawning 20th century so di. One of the oddest books I've ever read and am ever likely to read an autobiography written in the third person which tells us almost nothing at all about the authorcentral character this seems like a pre modernist bildungsroman than anything else The weirdness doesn't end there Henry Adams spends much of his time philosophizing about history while the narrator call him Mr Adams spends most of his time explaining that Henry Adams is a fool who has no idea what he's talking about; Henry Adams involves himself in politics the academy and Grand Tourism but Mr Adams rants about the uselessness of politics and the academy and rolls his eyes at Henry's failure to understand or properly enjoy any of the things he sees while Grand Touring As if that's not hard enough to deal with Mr Adams' assumes that you've already heard of him and all his friends and that you know what they were about Sometimes this works okay for instance I know a bit about Swinburne and the presidents he encounters; often it doesn't Henry Mr King and Mr Hay were clearly very close friends but what exactly the latter two did what they believed and what impact their actions had on the greater world remains a mystery to me If you're deeply versed in 19th century American politics you'll probably find his comments on those men and dozens of others amusing and interesting I am not so versed Despite which this is an amazing brilliant book well worth the considerable effort needed to read it because Mr Adams and Henry Adams are pretty obviously men you would like to spend time with in heaven One of them or maybe both would amuse you with lines such as Modern politics is at bottom a struggle not of men but of forces The men become every year and creatures of force massed about central power houses The conflict is no longer between the men but between the motors that drive the men and the men tend to succumb to their own motive forcesand Politics as a practice whatever its professions has always been the systematic organization of hatredsI don't know though if I'd like to spend much time chatting with Adams himself