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First Family: Abigail and John Adams (2010)

by Joseph J. Ellis

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6401528,315 (4.04)30
John and Abigail Adams left a remarkable portrait of their lives together in their personal correspondence: both were prolific letter writers (although John conceded that Abigail was the more gifted), and over the years they exchanged more than twelve hundred letters. Joseph J. Ellis distills them to give us an account both intimate and panoramic; part biography, part political history, and part love story. Ellis describes their first meeting as inauspicious--John was twenty-four, Abigail just fifteen, and each was entirely unimpressed. But they soon began a passionate correspondence that resulted in their marriage five years later. Over the next decades, the couple were separated nearly as much as they were together. When John became president, Abigail's health led to reservations about moving to the swamp on the Potomac, but he persuaded her that he needed his closest advisor by his side. Here, John and Abigail's relationship unfolds in the context of America's birth as a nation.--From publisher description.… (more)
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5767. First Family Abigail and John, by Joseph J. Ellis (read 3 Dec 2021) This is the 6th book by Ellis I have read and, as always, he does a good job in making it a easy to read and informative book. I have read Page Smith's two-volume biography of John Adams and David McCullough's superlative biography of Adams but still found this book full of things of interest. Adams was a hot-headed but able man, very eager to be given credit for his role in gaining independence for his country, and, when he became president he did a great job in avoiding war with France--which Jefferson might have not done had he been president, as he almost was, losing in 1796 by only 3 electoral votes to Adams. I was surprised to learn that Adams was home for as much as he was while president, but it was truly a different world. And it was an amazing fact that both he and Jefferson--the two men most important to the creation of the nation--died exactly fifty years after the day deemed the nation's birthday, on July 4, 1826 ( )
  Schmerguls | Dec 3, 2021 |
very readable; interesting. K. read 2011
  18cran | Aug 9, 2021 |
K very readable, interesting. pub 2010 read 2011
  18cran | Jun 7, 2021 |
Excellent! I've read a good bit about John Adams (and, via his story, Abigail). But Ellis' book really focuses on an amazing relationship of two amazing people in extraordinary times. And his laid back style is welcoming! ( )
  Jarratt | Sep 1, 2020 |
Interesting look at the letters between Abigail and John Adams over the course of their 54 year marriage. Researched in great detail.... but still a little "dry." ( )
  yukon92 | Jun 10, 2020 |
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We may not learn anything appreciably new about the Adams family, per se, but in “First Family” Mr. Ellis employs his narrative gifts to draw a remarkably intimate portrait of John and Abigail’s marriage as it played out against the momentous events that marked the birth of a nation.
 
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For Ellen, my Abigail
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Knowing as we do that John and Abigail Adams were destined to become the most famous and consequential couple in the revolutionary era, indeed some would say the premier husband-and-wife team in all American history, it is somewhat disconcerting to realize that when they first met in the summer of 1759, neither one was particularly impressed by the other.
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John and Abigail Adams left a remarkable portrait of their lives together in their personal correspondence: both were prolific letter writers (although John conceded that Abigail was the more gifted), and over the years they exchanged more than twelve hundred letters. Joseph J. Ellis distills them to give us an account both intimate and panoramic; part biography, part political history, and part love story. Ellis describes their first meeting as inauspicious--John was twenty-four, Abigail just fifteen, and each was entirely unimpressed. But they soon began a passionate correspondence that resulted in their marriage five years later. Over the next decades, the couple were separated nearly as much as they were together. When John became president, Abigail's health led to reservations about moving to the swamp on the Potomac, but he persuaded her that he needed his closest advisor by his side. Here, John and Abigail's relationship unfolds in the context of America's birth as a nation.--From publisher description.

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