First Family: Abigail and John Adams

First Family: Abigail and John Adams

by Joseph J. Ellis
3.4 74

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Overview

First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J. Ellis

In this rich and engrossing account, John and Abigail Adams come to life against the backdrop of the Republic’s tenuous early years.
 
Drawing on over 1,200 letters exchanged between the couple, Ellis tells a story both personal and panoramic. We learn about the many years Abigail and John spent apart as John’s political career sent him first to Philadelphia, then to Paris and Amsterdam; their relationship with their children; and Abigail’s role as John’s closest and most valued advisor. Exquisitely researched and beautifully written, First Family is both a revealing portrait of a marriage and a unique study of America’s early years.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307269621
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/26/2010
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.92(w) x 11.36(h) x 1.26(d)

About the Author

JOSEPH J. ELLIS is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his wife, Ellen, his youngest son, three dogs, and a cat.

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First Family: Abigail and John Adams 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
ChristysBookBlog More than 1 year ago
The First Family by Joseph J. Ellis is a insightful look at the John Adams family through their letters. John and Abigail have long been looked at as the premier couple of the American Revolution, and they left behind over 1200 letters of their correspondence opening up their relationship to study in a unique way. Ellis uses their letters to each other, their children, and friends to recreate their lives and give them their rightful place in history. John's image suffered in the years after the Revolution and during his presidency as he gained a reputation for vanity and a volcanic temper, and while Ellis acknowledges there is some truth to it, much of it was slander created by Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson to push forward their own political agendas. Both John and Abigail were fully aware that they were creating a political dynasty and often pushed son John Quincy to live up to their expectations, and their letters were often written to that effect. Ellis really helps bring this historic couple to life, from their flirtatious, almost naughty letters during courtship to Abigail's deep depression during John's years in France that kept them apart for five years to his term in the White House when she became too ill with rheumatoid arthritis to be with him. Ellis realistically creates a historic love story. John and Abigail balanced each other's flaws and while apart were each at their worst. When John was attacked during his presidency, he had no stronger ally than Abigail who said, "when he is wounded, I bleed." Ellis uses the analogy of a dancer alone on the floor, without a partner twice in the course of the book, first to describe Abigail when John is in Europe, and then again when she has passed away and John is alone, and the metaphor is a perfect one for this rare and wonderful couple.
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