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Children's LiteraturePart of the "Signature Lives" series, this volume pays tribute to one of America's founding fathers without idolizing him. The book opens with spies roaming the streets of Boston, and Sam Adams escaping from the British, an attention grabber for even the most reluctant reader. A strong patriot, Adams bitterly resented the British occupation of Boston but did not believe in violence, at least not until other means were exhausted. He condemned British actions in the "Boston Massacre" but did not want the patriot cause to lose support, either, so the politically astute Adams ensured that his cousin defended the British soldiers and made the point that the American mob had not been acting under Sam Adams's orders. The author explains Adams's upbringing as a Puritan and how this affected his education and beliefs, also pointing out that critics claimed he exaggerated his religious beliefs for the sake of increased political support. The author also makes clear that Adams did not have a good head for business, eventually passing the family brewing trade on to his younger brother. Sam did have a gift for writing and speaking persuasively and exhibited interpersonal skills that made him popular with people from all walks of life. He had strong convictions but would change his mind when convinced, as he did on the need for a strong central government, an idea to which he was initially opposed. An index and timeline add to research usefulness, but this biography is commendable as an exciting read. 2005, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.