Customer Reviews for

Samuel Adams: A Life

Average Rating 3.5
( 29 )
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  • Posted January 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A real mixed bag

    After reading David McCollough's "John Adams" and Ron Chernow's "Alexander Hamilton", I set upon Ira Stoll's "Samuel Adams", hoping to receive the same exciting and interesting style of biography. This book, while decent, is not in the same league as the others.

    The other two books I mentioned provided deep, vivid detail of their subjects' families, work, thoughts, gaffes, and ideals. After reading this book, I understand Samuel Adams more, but the amount of detail was lacking. The other authors made their respective subjects' legwork and daily routines seem interesting and memorable. By the end of this book, I was thoroughly bored of Samuel Adams, and couldn't tell you the names of any of his relations.

    There are a few positives, however. The book does show how feverishly devout Samuel Adams was, and how this shaped his views. In fact, that particular point is droned upon endlessly. I also greatly enjoyed the last chapter, in which the author gives some meaningful insight into why Samuel Adams is both tougher to connect with and lesser-well-known than his revolutionary counterparts.

    Don't expect the detail found in the larger revolutionary biographies here, and expect to hear a lot of "he liked God, hated Catholics, and wrote a lot of letters stating the same". If you're not an American Revolution buff, you'll probably stop reading one or two chapters in. But all things considered, it is certainly worth a once-over from anyone already interested in the subject.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2013

    Quick and entertaining, but not much depth

    This book is good for a casual reader interested in a quick coverage of a largely unappreciated Founder. This book gives a good overview of Samuel Adams's life and times, but it fails to go deep enough to be a hard hitting biography. This is not entirely the author's fault however, as he makes it clear that Adams destroyed most of his correspondence, making it nearly impossible to recreate his frame of mind at any particular point. So the book does a good job working almost exclusively through secondary sources. I did particularly enjoy the final chapter which examines Samuel Adams's rise and fall in popularity given the national mood in any given era. His memory has become a sort of national barometer. If nothing else, it was enjoyable to read a book which examines a pivotal figure in the American Revolution who can be appreciated for more than inspiring a brewery.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Too repetive!

    Sanuel was a grat man but carried only two messages. One our religious right and the other freedom.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2011

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    Posted May 1, 2010

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    Posted July 4, 2010

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