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American Phoenix tells the gripping story of John Quincy Adams’s “honorable exile” during the War of 1812 and the harrowing journey of his wife, Louisa, to be reunited with her family.

American diplomat John Quincy Adams and his wife, Louisa, had two things in common with the audacious Napoleon Bonaparte—speaking perfect French and living in exile. American Phoenix reveals the untold true story of Quincy’s unexpected nomination as the top US envoy to Russia in 1809, and Louisa’s agony at being forced to leave their six- and eight-year old boys behind in Boston. Believing that ambition can never repay such sacrifice, she clings to the hope of reuniting with her sons in a year.

Pretention, royal dissipation, extreme weather, covert political maneuvers, French interference, private tragedy, and two great wars trap them in St. Petersburg longer than their worst fears. Their personal story is soon swept into the public drama of Napoleon’s war with Russia and America’s war with Great Britain, which ultimately force John Quincy and Louisa to live apart. When Napoleon escapes his exile, his march to reclaim Paris threatens to forever separate John Quincy and Louisa from each other and their children back home.

American Phoenix uncovers the challenges, fears, sorrows, joys, triumphs, and faith that come when life—no matter the era—takes an unexpected journey.

  • A heart-wrenching, extensively researched chronicle of a crucial part of American history
  • Shows the challenges, threats, joys, triumphs, and faith that accompany unexpected journies in life

Read this incredible story of the Adams' exile today

About the Author

Jane Hampton Cook


Jane Hampton Cook



National media commentator and award-winning author Jane Hampton Cook brings history and biographies to life, making them memorable and relevant to today's news, current events, politics, issues of faith, and modern-day life. Jane is the author of seven books.

White House Experience
Jane served former President George W. Bush as a webmaster for five years, including three in the Texas governor’s office and two years in the White House as deputy director of Internet news services. Her enthusiasm for history skyrocketed when she discovered that writing historical stories for whitehouse.gov were among the site’s most popular pages. The experience cemented her decision to passionately pursue US history topics as an author.

Media Experience
Jane is frequent guest on the Fox News Channel and numerous other television, radio, online, and print outlets. She has appeared in several historical documentaries and hosted an online documentary. She is a member of the National Press Club.


  • “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 and Fox Business
  • “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, American University, and former Assistant to President George W. Bush and Chief of Staff to First Lady Laura Bush
  • “Jane Hampton Cook’s storyteller’s narrative and penchant for detail vividly portrays John Quincy and Louisa Adams’s watershed quest to establish America’s sovereignty among nations. The couple’s perseverance to diplomacy in the establishment of early America’s free trade and to crossing European cultural divides to promote peace dur- ing wartime helped turn the tide of American and world history. Cook’s glimpse, through diary entries, into the Adamses’ sacrificial and loving devotion to one another amid scenes of political intrigue transcends time, inspiring reader and historian. A mesmerizing tale of two patriotic and focused faith-filled lives as needed and relevant today as it was 200 years ago.” —Cathy Gohlke, Christy Award–winning author of Promise Me This and Band of Sisters
  • “Jane Hampton Cook’s American Phoenix is a hugely entertaining and deep and dra- matic 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 politi- cal and historical comeback and a continuation of service to country than American Phoenix, I’ve yet to read it.” —Kevin Knoblock, writer, director, and documentary filmmaker, A City Upon A Hill
  • “John Quincy Adams has what it takes to obtain America’s full sovereignty as an infant nation, but has no idea what that assignment will cost him. American Phoenix recounts the rise of JQA from the ashes of political irrelevancy to strategic obscurity. Caught in the life-altering wake of her husband’s diplomatic service in St. Petersburg, Russia, Louisa Adams navigates through loneliness, loss, and depression. Along the way she is forced to face that which has sought to destroy her very heart, soul, mind, and mar- riage. What Jane Hampton Cook has unearthed in American Phoenix is a magnificent love story. John and Louisa Adams knew they deeply loved their country, but what they needed to find out when the ice of service and sacrifice melted, was if their love for one another would survive the ordeal. If you love America, a realistic love story, and cheering for the underdog, American Phoenix offers you an outlet for all three. You won’t be disappointed!” —Donna Tallman, screenwriter
  • “When Jane Hampton Cook brings history to life, she gives us what many don’t: the full human experience behind the names of those long gone, textured with emotion, riddled with conflict, and surprisingly relevant to us today.” —Jocelyn Green, author of the Heroines Behind the Lines series
  • “American Phoenix by Jane Hampton Cook is an immaculate work of nonfiction, though it reads like a page-turning novel. Cook’s attention to detail and historical accuracy transports us as readers back to the time of the War of 1812 and immerses us in the lives and drama that played out—much of it behind the scenes—at that time. If you like American history as told through the hearts and lives of those who lived it and sacrificed for its outcome, you will love American Phoenix!” —Kathi Macias, multi-award-winning author of nearly 40 books, including the Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year, Red Ink (www.kathimacias.com)

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"An immaculate work of nonfiction, though it reads like a page-turning novel."

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