Praise for American Phoenix


“Long before ‘Barack and Michelle’ or ‘Bill and Hillary,’ there were ‘John and Louisa.’ Leave it to my friend Jane to set us straight on America ’s first real power couple. And leave it to this incredible historian, to show how John Quincy and Louisa Adams not only took themselves to new heights, but this country to new heights as well. Just when I thought I knew everything about John, along comes Jane to whack me upside the head and complete the power picture…with Louisa. Great story. Great book. Great, period."

Neil Cavuto, Anchor and Sr. VP, Fox News Channel and Fox Business  



John Quincy and Louisa Adams’s unexpected journey that changed everything.

American Phoenix is the sweeping, riveting tale of a grand historic adventure across forbidding oceans and frozen tundra—from the bustling ports and towering birches of Boston to the remote reaches of pre-Soviet Russia, from an exile in arctic St. Petersburg to resurrection and reunion among the gardens of Paris. Upon these varied landscapes this Adams and his Eve must find a way to transform their banishment into America’s salvation.

Author, historian, and national media commentator Jane Hampton Cook breathes life into once-obscure history, weaving a meticulously researched biographical tapestry that reads like a gripping novel. With the arc and intrigue of Shakespearean drama in a Jane Austen era, American Phoenix is a timely yet timeless addition to the recent renaissance of works on the founding Adams family, from patriarchs John and Abigail to the second-generation of John Quincy and Louisa and beyond.

Cook has crafted not only a riveting narrative but also an easy-to-understand history filled with fly-on-the-wall vignettes from 1812 and its hardscrabble, freedom-hungry people. While unveiling vivid portrayals of each character—a colorful assortment of heroes and villains, patriots and pirates, rogues and rabble-rousers—she paints equally fresh, intimate portraits of both John Quincy and Louisa Adams. Cook artfully reveals John Quincy’s devastation after losing the job of his dreams, battle for America’s need to thrive economically, and sojourn to secure his homeland’s survival as a sovereign nation. She reserves her most detailed brushstrokes for the inner struggles of Louisa, using this quietly inspirational woman’s own words to amplify her fears, faith, and fortitude along a deeply personal, often heart-rending journey. Cook’s close-up perspective shows how this American couple’s Russian destination changed US destiny.    


How Jane Wrote American Phoenix

“Jane Hampton Cook’s American Phoenix is a hugely entertaining and deep and dramatic portrait of America ’s sixth president and his wife Louisa, the only First Lady born outside of the United States . It tells the forgotten story of the Adamses in exile, when John Quincy was James Madison’s minister to Russia , and how his diplomacy, with Louisa’s assistance, helped to end the War of 1812, America’s perilous second revolution. Cook creates vivid, cinematic scenarios, reminiscent of a David Lean epic set in Napoleonic Europe. The title is telling. If there is a better example of a political and historical comeback and a continuation of service to country than American Phoenix, I’ve yet to read it.”


—Kevin Knoblock, documentary filmmaker, writer and director, A City Upon A Hill

Jane Hampton Cook Video Biography

“This wonderful book from Jane Hampton Cook goes a long way in shining a light on a compelling -- and little known -- woman in American history. British-born American Louisa Catherine Adams was a patriot and diplomat and did her part to secure America's sovereignty and power among nations at a time when America was a country in name only. With unending faith in the promise of our new nation, this future first lady endured hardship, loneliness, illness, economic uncertainty and a heartbreaking separation from two of her children to help secure America's place on the world stage."

Anita McBride, AmericanUniversity, and former Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush

Why American Phoenix Matters Today