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Abigail Adams by Woody Holton
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Abigail Adams (2009)

by Woody Holton

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Showing 5 of 5
I have been fascinated with Abigail Adams for years and really enjoyed this book. One thing about reading it on the Kindle is it seemed to take forever to read! I would read and see that I had only read 2% of the book. I was nearing 62% and was reading about her death and wondered what the rest of the 40% was going to be about when the book ended. The last 38% was footnotes, acknowledgements, sources and so forth. I clicked through all of them so my book would show 100%, otherwise, in a few months I would see that I had only read 62% of the book and wonder why I hadn't finished it! ( )
  Auj | Mar 5, 2015 |
This book is nicely researched and well written. A family tree might have been a nice addition, since the Adams family reproduces widely and everyone seems to have the same names. Holton pushes the feminist angle pretty strongly (Adams is well known for her "Remember the Ladies!" letter to her husband), and while Adams certainly displayed a lifelong interest in the rights and education of women, I think he sometimes holds her relationship with John up as more unusually egalitarian than it really was. Most of all, you get a real sense for the every day life of the period -- the problems that distance (even what now seems like a small distance) put on communication; the parallels between the federalists / anti-federalists and today's politicians; the economy crippling speculation and real estate bubbles after the war; and a truly moving exchange when Abigail's daughter finds a lump in her breast and has to be convinced to get a mastectomy. I'm very glad I had a chance to read this book.

[full review here: http://spacebeer.blogspot.com/2011/06/abigail-adams-by-woody-holton-2009.html ] ( )
  kristykay22 | Jun 17, 2011 |
Much emphasis is rightly given to the founding fathers of America such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. But rarely do we get such a detailed glimpse into the homes and personal lives of these men as we do the Adams' in Woody Holton's biography of Abigail Adams. With riveting detail, Holton introduces us to the complex woman who helped shaped America more than perhaps any other of the "founding mothers" through her influence on her husband.

Strong-willed, intelligent and willing to speak her mind, Adams was decades ahead of her time when it came to women's rights and involvement in the everyday affairs of life and politics. Relying heavily on Adams' correspondence between her husband and others, Holton places much emphasis on Adams as an advocate of women's rights. We glimpse the struggles that the Adams family endured through the many long absences of John Adams; but through these struggles we also get to see Abigail's knowledge and fortitude in being able to "keep the home fires burning" as it were. In a culture that frowned on educating women, she was very intelligent, widely read, and very active in promoting the education of her gender. She made financial investments often without the knowledge of her husband - also a cultural taboo.

Holton does an excellent job of highlighting Adams' strengths as well as her weaknesses, giving us a well-rounded, quite readable biography of this great woman. He certainly does Adams justice in examining her life as a woman and not simply as the wife of a founding father. I would highly recommend this book to any reader of American history or of women's rights. ( )
  Eskypades | Mar 7, 2011 |
Solid historical reference. Great personal history of Abigail regarding women's issues, family, financial/political perspective. I wish that either I knew more about her husband John, or that the book dealt with it so that I had a more complete picture. ( )
  lise2g | Jan 4, 2010 |
I'm acknowledged in this book, so I can't really "review" it as such; consider this a hearty recommendation. It's one of the best biographies I've ever had the privilege to read, being at once pleasantly readable and also carefully researched. It breaks much new ground in pointing out the important role Abigail's financial prowess played in creating the family's fiscal stability: "it may be that if [John Adams'] financial records had survived the ravages of time as well as his correspondence did," Holton writes on p. 277, "they would show his wife making a larger contribution to the family's wealth than he did." A remarkable statement, perhaps, but not if you know Abigail as Holton reveals her.

Absolutely one of the top biographies of 2009, by far. ( )
  JBD1 | Nov 7, 2009 |
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On an unusually warm morning in the middle of January 1816, seventy-one-year-old Abigail Adams, wracked with pain and convinced she was dying, sat down to write her will.
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Prof. Woody Holton (NBA-finalist for Unruly Americans) reveals that American icon Abigail Adams was far wiser and wilier than previously known.

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