9780674078550 / 0674078551

The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784


Publisher:Harvard University Press



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About the book:

John and Abigail, Abigail and John - their names are as inseparably linked as those of any pair in history. The story of these lovers, domestic partners, and patriots comes to life in this collection of their intimate correspondence. The lives of this remarkable couple unfold alongside events of the Revolutionary War era, a time in which John left his family for prolonged periods to serve his colony and country. Their engaging exchanges follow John's career from provincial lawyer and farmer in Braintree, Massachusetts, to delegate to the Continental Congresses in Philadelphia, to diplomatic success in Europe. John reveals himself as an ambitious, determined, and self-doubting statesman with a trusting, deeply affectionate character and an earthy sense of humor. Abigail's lively and captivating letters show the trials of an intelligent, strong, and resourceful woman who managed the family's farm and business affairs and reared the pair's four children during her husband's long absences. Her missives to John are filled with outspoken remarks on politics, public figures, and world-shaking events. An independent thinker and advocate of equal rights for women, she urged him in one spirited letter to "Remember the Ladies" in framing the new government. Abigail also vividly documents domestic life in eighteenth-century America, providing enlightening details on health problems, childbirth, education, women's activities, the difficulties of travel, and the impact of wartime inflation. The 226 letters contained in this volume are supplemented with a few to third parties and a sampling of diary entries. Altogether, the words and thoughts of these warm, if occasionally fallible, human beings richly convey the experience of the Revolutionary generation in a most personal and authentic way.

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