In this rich and engrossing account, John and Abigail Adams come to life against the backdrop of the Republic's tenuous early years. Drawing on over 1,200 letters exchanged between the couple, Ellis tells a story both personal and panoramic. We learn about the many years Abigail and John spent apart as John's political career sent him first to ...
In this rich and engrossing account, John and Abigail Adams come to life against the backdrop of the Republic's tenuous early years. Drawing on over 1,200 letters exchanged between the couple, Ellis tells a story both personal and panoramic. We learn about the many years Abigail and John spent apart as John's political career sent him first to Philadelphia, then to Paris and Amsterdam; their relationship with their children; and Abigail's role as John's closest and most valued advisor. Exquisitely researched and beautifully written, "First Family" is both a revealing portrait of a marriage and a unique study of America's early years.
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Publishers Weekly, 2010-08-16 Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Ellis (Founding Brothers) gives "the premier husband-wife team in all American history" starring roles in an engrossing romance. His Abigail has an acute intellect, but is not quite a protofeminist heroine: her ambitions are limited to being a mother and helpmeet, and in the iconic correspondence she often strikes the traditional pose of a neglected wife who sacrifices her happiness by giving up her husband to the call of duty. The author's more piquant portrait of John depicts an insecure, mercurial, neurotic man stabilized by Abigail's love and advice. Ellis's implicit argument-that the John/Abigail partnership lies at the foundation of the Adams family's public achievements-is a bit over-played, and not always to the advantage of the partnership: "Her judgment was a victim of her love for John.," Ellis writes of Abigail's support for the Alien and Sedition Acts, the ugliest blot on John's presidency, all of which explains little and excuses less. Still, Ellis's supple prose and keen psychological insight give a vivid sense of the human drama behind history's upheavals. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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