Abigail Adams

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Jun 1, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 512 pages
1 Review
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 naďve 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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ABIGAIL ADAMS: A Life

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

Richly detailed biography of Abigail Adams (1744-1818), sprightly with quotes from letters and chockfull of legendary names.The subtext of this compelling, though hardly news-breaking, biography seems ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - JBD1 - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Abner Linwood "Woody" Holton, III, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Richmond in Virginia and is a member of the Richmond Research Institute.  He has published two award-winning books: Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (2007), a finalist for the National Book Award; and Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia (1999).  Holton received his B.A. in English from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in History from Duke, and is currently an associate professor at the University of Richmond. Holton has received numerous awards, including three from the Organization of American Historians (OAH). His first book, Forced Founders (in which he argued that Jefferson, Washington, and other Virginia gentlemen rebelled against Britain partly in order to regain control of Native Americans, slaves, and small farmers), received the OAH’s prestigious Merle Curti award for social history. In 2006, the OAH named Holton one of its Distinguished Lecturers. Holton’s article, “‘Divide et Impera’: The Tenth Federalist in a Wider Sphere,” was selected by a panel of distinguished scholars for publication in the OAH’s Best American History Essays 2006.  Holton received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the 2008-09 academic year to write ABIGAIL ADAMS and today lives in Richmond with his wife Gretchen Schoel (the director of an organization combating prejudice against Arabs and Muslims) and their daughter Beverly.

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