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Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
Abigail Adams
Audiobook19 hours

Abigail Adams

Written by Woody Holton

Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

Abigail Adams offers a fresh perspective on the famous events of Adams's life, and along the way, Woody Holton, a renowned historian of the American Revolution, takes on numerous myths about the men and women of the founding era. But the book also demonstrates that domestic dramas-from unplanned pregnancies to untimely deaths-could be just as heartbreaking, significant, and inspiring as the actions of statesmen and soldiers. A special focus of the book is Adams's complex relationships: with her mother, sisters, and children; with her husband's famous contemporaries; and with Phoebe, one of her father's slaves. At the same time that John exhibited his own diplomatic skills on a better-known canvas, Abigail struggled to prevent the charitable gifts she gave her sisters from coming between them. In a departure from the persistently upbeat tone of most Adams biographies, Holton's work shows how frequently her life was marred by tragedy, making this the deepest, most humanistic portrayal ever published. Using the matchless trove of Adams family manuscripts, the author steps back to allow Abigail to respond to her many losses in her own words.

Holton reveals that Abigail Adams sharply disagreed with her husband's financial decisions and assumed control of the family's money herself-earning them a tidy fortune through her shrewd speculations (this during a time when married women were not permitted to own property). And he shows that her commitment to women's equality and education was intense and explicitly expressed and practical, from the more than two thousand letters she wrote over her lifetime to her final will (written in defiance of legislation prohibiting married women from bequeathing property).

Alternately witty, poignant, and uplifting, Holton's narrative sheds new light on one of America's best-loved but least-understood icons.
PublisherTantor Audio
Release dateNov 23, 2009

Woody Holton

Woody Holton is assistant professor of American history at the University of Richmond.

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Reviews for Abigail Adams

Rating: 4.115384615384615 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    I have been fascinated with Abigail Adams for years and really enjoyed this book. One thing about reading it on the Kindle is it seemed to take forever to read! I would read and see that I had only read 2% of the book. I was nearing 62% and was reading about her death and wondered what the rest of the 40% was going to be about when the book ended. The last 38% was footnotes, acknowledgements, sources and so forth. I clicked through all of them so my book would show 100%, otherwise, in a few months I would see that I had only read 62% of the book and wonder why I hadn't finished it!
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    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 pleasantly readable and also carefully researched. It breaks much new ground in pointing out the important role Abigail's financial prowess played in creating the family's fiscal stability: "it may be that if [John Adams'] financial records had survived the ravages of time as well as his correspondence did," Holton writes on p. 277, "they would show his wife making a larger contribution to the family's wealth than he did." A remarkable statement, perhaps, but not if you know Abigail as Holton reveals her.Absolutely one of the top biographies of 2009, by far.