The book contains thousands of memorable one-liners about politics, morality, culture, and transatlantic relations: "The American mind exasperated the European as a buzz-saw might exasperate a pine forest." There are astonishing glimpses of the high and mighty: "He saw a long, awkward figure; a plain, ploughed face; a mind, absent in part, and in part evidently worried by white kid gloves; features that expressed neither self-satisfaction nor any other familiar Americanism...." (That would be Abraham Lincoln; the "melancholy function" his Inaugural Ball.) But most of all, Adams' book is a brilliant account of how his own sensibility came to be. A literary landmark from the moment it first appeared, the autobiography confers upon its author precisely that prize he felt had always eluded him: success.
This Pulitzer Prize-winner is considered by many to be one of the three greatest autoboigraphies ever written (the other two being Benjaman Franklin's and Jean-Jacques Rosseau's). Published shortly after the author's death in 1918, The Education of Henry Adams is a brilliant, idiosyncratic blend of autobiography and history that charts the great transformation in American life during the 19th and early 20th centuries.