|Ralph James Quincy Adams|
September 22, 1943|
Hammond, Indiana, U.S.
|Residence||Bryan, Brazos County, Texas, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of California, Santa Barbara|
|Children||Ian James Tucker Adams|
Ralph James Quincy Adams (born September 22, 1943), usually known as R. J. Q. Adams, is an American historian, writer, historiographer, and professor. Having obtained a PhD in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1972, Adams has focused his professional career in the history of Great Britain. Since 1974, he has been a professor of European and British history at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Following his tenure at the institution, Adams acquired the honorific positions of Distinguished Professor and Patricia & Bookman Peters Professor of History.
R.J.Q. Adams was born in Hammond, Indiana, but his official résumé does not detail his background prior to 1965, when he obtained his Bachelor of Science in history from Indiana University Bloomington. He received the Master of Arts in liberal arts in 1969 from Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. In 1972, he received the PhD in history from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was also a lecturer from 1971 to 1973. His doctoral dissertation was directed by Alfred Gollin.
In the 1992-1993 academic year, Adams was a research fellow at St Catherine's College in Oxford, England. From 2003 to 2005, he was the director of graduate studies in history at TAMU. In 2004, he was named the Patricia and Bookman Peters Professor of History at TAMU In addition to his concentration on 20th century Britain, he is a specialist in European history and historiography, the art of writing history.
His 1987 work is The Conscription Controversy in Great Britain, 1900-18, with Philip P. Poirier.
In 1988 he penned Edwardian Conservatism, co-authored with Arthur Mejia, Gregory Phillips, J.A. Thompson, and Richard Cosgrove.
In 1990, Adams edited The Great War: Essays on the Military, Political and Social History of World War I.
In 1993 Adams authored through Stanford University British Politics and Foreign Policy in the Age of Appeasement, 1935-1939. This work examines appeasement, which led to what Neville Chamberlain at the Munich Conference of 1938 called "peace in our time." Later, the policy was viewed as short-sighted and a harbinger of World War II. One reviewer calls the work "exciting and thoroughly accessible [and] explains the motivations and goals of the principal policy-makers: Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax... and their major critics: Winston Churchill, Anthony Eden.... He discloses the myths which obscure our understanding...."
In 1994 Adams published through Houghton Mifflin British Appeasement and the Origins of World War II.
Adams' 1999 book, Bonar Law, published by Stanford University Press, was named "Book of the Year" by David Gilmour in The Spectator. Bonar Law, a native of Canada and a businessman from Scotland, was a member of Arthur Balfour's government. In 1911, he took the leadership of the Conservative Party in Britain, which he reorganized and reinvigorated. During World War I, Law cast aside partisanship to work with the Liberal Party's David Lloyd George. He was essentially the co-premier. While Lloyd George got much of the credit for the British victory in World War I, much of the success also rested with Law. In 1921, Law retired, and partisan tensions reappeared. Law managed to achieve the peaceful division of Ireland, previously one of the most difficult problems for the British Parliament. A reviewer terms Bonar Law:
[an] illuminating biography ... [Adams] refutes the hard-faced and shadowy image that has long represented Bonar Law. In its place, the author reveals an effective political leader who mastered his party and the House of Commons as few others had done, while at the same time becoming one of the best loved men in the House by colleagues of all parties. Bonar Law is also shown to be a complex and tragic person ...
In 2003 Adams co-authored with Robin W. Winks (1930-2003) of Yale University the book Europe, Crisis and Conflict: 1890-1945, published by Oxford University Press. A reviewer describes this work, accordingly:
The first half of the 20th century was of one of the most turbulent periods in Europe's history. While social theorists challenged orthodox ways of thinking about the establishment of a 'good society,' scientists offered up new visions of the workings of the universe.... [C]hange and controversy reigned in the worlds of art and culture. The chaos of world politics ushered in the two great wars, which would forever alter Europe's position in the world. [The book] offers a concise, accessible overview of this tumultuous time period.... Topics covered include the rise of modernism in the arts, Social Darwinism and its effects on theories of race, the making of 'national' identities, the origins of the modern ecology movement, and the changing roles of women.... [Adams and Winks] thoroughly analyze the causes and effects of the two great wars, while reaching beyond Europe to discuss the events [elsewhere]....
In 2007 Adams' Balfour: The Last Grandee was named "Biography of the Year" by D.R. Thorpe in The Guardian newspaper. Amazon.com describes Arthur Balfour as having "possessed intellect and charm in legendary abundance. On becoming Prime Minister in 1902, it seemed that he had come into his inheritance as a true grandee. He held office longer than any other Cabinet minister and, in a fifty-year career, dealt with successes and defeats with similar equanimity. When he chose, he retreated into the insulated worlds of family, friends and ideas, and in each he was the unquestioned center."
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