U.S. Presidents Group
The U.S. Presidents group reads and discusses concise biographies of past presidents, their leadership abilities and how well their reputations have withstood the test of time. The biography for May is John Quincy Adams by Robert Remini (Times Books, $23.00). Remini paints a vivid portrait of a man whose pre- and post-presidential careers overshadowed his presidency. Chosen by the House of Representatives after an inconclusive election against Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams often failed to mesh with the ethos of his era, pushing unsuccessfully for a strong, consolidated national government. Remini recounts how in the years before his presidency Adams was a shrewd, influential diplomat, and later, as a dynamic secretary of state under President James Monroe, he solidified many basic aspects of American foreign policy, including the Monroe Doctrine.