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Anyone interested in the birth of America, and those who formed its precious Constitution--that would be just about anybody--will be riveted to all 13 hours of The Adams Chronicles, an Emmy-nominated miniseries from the mid-'70s that focuses on the life, and political dynasty, of John Adams. While occasionally rather talky, the series is accessible, well-directed and a fascinating history lesson, telling the larger story of politics, conflict, and power, through a family and relationships that are touchingly real to contemporary audiences. Adams launched an American political and financial dynasty that the Kennedys and Bushes can only dream of emulating. The second president of the U.S. was a key player in the battle for Independence and the drafting of the Constitution, and his offspring would become statesmen, historians, diplomats, a railroad magnate--even another U.S. president. Originally broadcast in 1976, the height of the American miniseries rage, The Adams Chronicles was a ratings smash, and proves to be a timeless, satisfying tour through America's inspiring formative years. Adams (also paid detailed homage in both David McCullough's biography and the HBO miniseries starring Paul Giamatti) was a more low-key Revoluntary figure than, say, George Washington or Benjamin Franklin. But his political stealth, and fervent beliefs in liberty and freedom, helped mold the very country at its birth. The Emmy-nominated George Grizzard is nuanced as Adams, whose conscience must forever be reconciled with political reality. His relationship with his intelligent wife, Abigail, is depicted lovingly. Years after the Revolution, living in France as a diplomat for the still-unrecognized United States, Adams greets his family whom he hasn't seen in several years. When Abigail asks, simply, "How are you feeling, Mr. Adams?", he replies, holding her gaze, "Twenty years younger than yesterday." The 13-hour series traces John and Abigail's children, and their children, and so on, up through the Civil War and then the turn of the 20th century. By then there is no doubt that the Adams family is America's family, intertwined with the great upheavals, and achievements, in the young country. --A.T. Hurley