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“Fascinating...Gelles has provided a balanced portrait, and her mastery of the period’s issues and history is evident on every page. Her treatment of the family... [is] written with understanding and sensitivity... But it is her strength as a feminist historian that makes her treatment of Abigail the most gripping... masterful and captivating.” — Washington Times “A landmark... Well-organized and expertly composed, the book is an impressive addition to the nation’s written history.” — Oklahoma City Oklahoman Readers who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin’s No Ordinary Time, Cokie Roberts’s Founding Mothers, and David McCullough’s John Adams will love “this eminently readable… charming and sensitive, yet candid and unflinching joint biography” (Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848) of America’s original “power couple”: Abigail and John Adams.
During the many years that they were separated by the perils of the American Revolution, John and Abigail Adams exchanged hundreds of letters. Writing to each other of public events and private feelings, loyalty and love, revolution and parenting, they wove a tapestry of correspondence that has become a cherished part of American history and literature. With Abigail and John Adams, historian G. J. Barker-Benfield mines those familiar letters to a new purpose: teasing out the ways in which they reflected—and helped transform—a language of sensibility, inherited from Britain but, amid the revolutionary fervor, becoming Americanized. Sensibility—a heightened moral consciousness of feeling, rooted in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Adam Smith and including a “moral sense” akin to the physical senses—threads throughout these letters. As Barker-Benfield makes clear, sensibility was the fertile, humanizing ground on which the Adamses not only founded their marriage, but also the “abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity” they and their contemporaries hoped to plant at the heart of the new nation. Bringing together their correspondence with a wealth of fascinating detail about life and thought, courtship and sex, gender and parenting, and class and politics in the revolutionary generation and beyond, Abigail and John Adams draws a lively, convincing portrait of a marriage endangered by separation, yet surviving by the same ideas and idealism that drove the revolution itself. A feast of ideas that never neglects the real lives of the man and woman at its center, Abigail and John Adams takes readers into the heart of an unforgettable union in order to illuminate the first days of our nation—and explore our earliest understandings of what it might mean to be an American.
Abigail Adams was an unusually accomplished letter writer. Spirited and insightful, her correspondence offers a unique vantage on historical events in which her family played so prominent a role, while bringing vividly to life the everyday experience of American women in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Here are 430 letters—more than a hundred published for the first time—to John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Mercy Otis Warren, James and Dolley Madison, and Martha Washington, among many others. Including her famous call to “Remember the Ladies,” letters from the 1760s and 1770s offer an unrivalled portrait of the American Revolution on the home front. Travel to Europe in the 1780s opens a grand new field for her talents as social commentator and political advisor while her roles as vice presidential and presidential wife place her at the very heart of the nation’s founding. Also included are a chronology of Adams’s life, detailed notes, and extensively researched family trees. This volume is published simultaneously with John Adams: Writings from the New Nation 1784–1826, the third and final volume in the Library of America John Adams edition.
A Companion to John Adams and John Quincy Adams presents a collection of original historiographic essays contributed by leading historians that cover diverse aspects of the lives and politics of John and John Quincy Adams and their spouses, Abigail and Louisa Catherine. Features contributions from top historians and Adams’ scholars Considers sub-topics of interest such as John Adams’ role in the late 18th-century demise of the Federalists, both Adams’ presidencies and efforts as diplomats, religion, and slavery Includes two chapters on Abigail Adams and one on Louisa Adams
The lively, authoritative, New York Times bestselling biography of Abigail Adams. This is the life of Abigail Adams, wife of patriot John Adams, who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America. Rich with excerpts from her personal letters, Dearest Friend captures the public and private sides of this fascinating woman, who was both an advocate of slave emancipation and a burgeoning feminist, urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies” as he framed the laws of their new country. John and Abigail Adams married for love. While John traveled in America and abroad to help forge a new nation, Abigail remained at home, raising four children, managing their estate, and writing letters to her beloved husband. Chronicling their remarkable fifty-four-year marriage, her blossoming feminism, her battles with loneliness, and her friendships with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Dearest Friend paints a portrait of Abigail Adams as an intelligent, resourceful, and outspoken woman.
America’s rise from revolutionary colonies to a world power is often treated as inevitable. But Charles N. Edel’s provocative biography of John Q. Adams argues that he served as the central architect of a grand strategy whose ideas and policies made him a critical link between the founding generation and the Civil War–era nation of Lincoln.
Winner of the Bancroft Prize The New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice American Heritage, Best of 2009 In this vivid new biography of Abigail Adams, the most illustrious woman of the founding era, Bancroft Award–winning historian Woody Holton offers a sweeping reinterpretation of Adams’s life story and of women’s roles in the creation of the republic. Using previously overlooked documents from numerous archives, Abigail Adams shows that the wife of the second president of the United States was far more charismatic and influential than historians have realized. One of the finest writers of her age, Adams passionately campaigned for women’s education, denounced sex discrimination, and matched wits not only with her brilliant husband, John, but with Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. When male Patriots ignored her famous appeal to "Remember the Ladies," she accomplished her own personal declaration of independence: Defying centuries of legislation that assigned married women’s property to their husbands, she amassed a fortune in her own name. Adams’s life story encapsulates the history of the founding era, for she defined herself in relation to the people she loved or hated (she was never neutral), a cast of characters that included her mother and sisters; Benjamin Franklin and James Lovell, her husband’s bawdy congressional colleagues; Phoebe Abdee, her father’s former slave; her financially naïve husband; and her son John Quincy. At once epic and intimate, Abigail Adams, sheds light on a complicated, fascinating woman, one of the most beloved figures of American history.

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