Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution

Abigail Adams: Witness to a Revolution

by Natalie S. Bober
     
 

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Abigail Adams is often referred to as the wife of one president and the mother of another. Rarely is she described as a woman in her own right. Although her primary focus and concerns were in her role as wife and mother, she lives in history because of her extraordinary letters to her family and to her friends.

She was a witness to the gathering storm of the

Overview

Abigail Adams is often referred to as the wife of one president and the mother of another. Rarely is she described as a woman in her own right. Although her primary focus and concerns were in her role as wife and mother, she lives in history because of her extraordinary letters to her family and to her friends.

She was a witness to the gathering storm of the Revolutionary War. She saw the Battle of Bunker Hill from a hilltop near her home, and soldiers marching past her door frequently stopped for a drink of water. Because she was so close to the scene, she was able to give firsthand reports of the American Revolution to her husband and other leaders creating a new government, as she wrote about the times and the people who played vital roles in the birth of our nation.

Mingling the intimate with the momentous, she documented what it was like to live at a time when education was not available to young women, and when pregnancy and childbirth meant the fear of death. Colonial women were called upon to make life-and-death decisions for their children, to educate their daughters, and to run their farms when their husbands were away for months, or sometimes for years, at a time. Yet they had, at best, second-class legal and political status.

Abigail Adams's independent spirit, her sense of humor, and her remarkable intellect, as shown in her letters, open a wide window on a crucial period in our nation's history, and bring Abigail Adams and her time to life.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
If you think your life is tough, read this biography to get an understanding of what life was like for 18th century women. The hardships, responsibilities, loneliness, and ominous presence of diseases like smallpox and yellow fever required resourcefulness, common sense and intelligence. Abigail Adams faced these challenges and endured. She was an educated woman who believed John's duty to his country came first. While John was in Philadelphia helping to create a nation, she was in Massachusetts raising their 4 children. Separated, sometimes for years, while John was in Europe, Abigail made the family decision, ran the farm, bought and sold property and made it prosper while maintaining a prodigious correspondence with her husband, family and friends. At the heart of this superb book is the enduring love of a remarkable couple.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-This well-researched biography provides an intimate portrait of a unique individual while also reflecting the tenor and times of the 18th century. Long characterized mainly as the wife of one president and the mother of another, Abigail Adams emerges here as an individual rather than an adjunct personality. Drawing from the more than 2000 surviving pieces of her subject's personal correspondence, Bober creates a vehicle to transport readers to a turbulent era in our nation's past. The letters, as she aptly states, ``artlessly mingled the momentous with the mundane.'' Interspersing historically significant characters with family gossip lends an air of vibrancy and a sense of immediacy to dates, names, and events. What is revealed is Adams's deep love for her family, palpable loneliness due to long periods of separation from her husband, and a commitment to achieve more than the goals set for women by the era in which she lived. The author begins with a lengthy chronology that juxtaposes political and personal events, and includes a family tree and local maps. Reference notes and a bibliography indicating manuscript and secondary sources conclude the book. Excellent quality archival reproductions, all of which are clearly labeled, appear throughout. The intelligence, inner strength, and vitality of Abigail Adams emerges with the bold strokes of her pen, admirably reflecting the essence of an age for today's readers.-Joanne Kelleher, Commack Public Library, NY
Carolyn Phelan
Think of this biography as a portrait. Not the smooth, impassive painting reproduced on the jacket, but an intricate mosaic made of colorful bits of fact, emotion, period detail, and letters, letters, letters. Bober nudges readers to look beyond their twentieth-century expectations and become absorbed in another age. She creates a detailed eighteenth-century background showing Adams as the product of her times: an educated, intelligent, and capable woman in an age when the expectations and challenges of a woman's role were different from what they are today, but no less complex. Often separated from her husband John, Abigail wrote letters to him and to others constantly. Throughout the text, Abigail's voice is heard through quotations from her letters. Thorough research of this first-person resource gives Bober a comfortable familiarity with Abigail's personality as well as her personal history, which is interwoven with the turbulent history of her times. As in Bober's "Thomas Jefferson: Man on a Mountain" (1988), meticulous research and documentation give the book authority, good writing gives it clarity, and sympathetic understanding gives it humanity. An excellent biography.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606131063
Publisher:
Demco Media
Publication date:
02/01/1998

Meet the Author

Natalie S. Bober believes that great people inspire others to find the greatness within themselves. It is for this reason that she writes biographies for young people. Among her subjects have been William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, Louise Nevelson, Marc Chagall, and Thomas Jefferson.

Mrs. Bober has taught English and been a reading specialist and textbook editor. She lectures widely to young people and adults on the joy and excitement of research, and conducts workshops on the art and craft of biography.

She resides with her husband in Westchester County, New York, and derives great pleasure from her grandchildren, who happily serve as readers and critics of her books.

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