Abigail and John
Portrait of a Marriage
By Edith Gelles
(William Morrow, Hardcover, 9780061353871, 352pp.)
Publication Date: April 2009
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The story of Abigail and John Adams is as much a romance as it is a lively chapter in the early history of this country. The marriage of the second president and first lady is one of the most extraordinary examples of passion and endurance that this country has ever witnessed. And it is a drama peopled with a pantheon of eighteenth-century stars: George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, his daughter Patsy, Ben Franklin, and Mercy Otis Warren.
Abigail and John were a uniquely compatible duo, and in their remarkable union we can see the strength of a people determined to achieve full independence in the face of daunting odds. Yet while much has been written about each as an individual, Abigail and John provides, for the first time, the captivating story of their dedication and sacrifice that helped usher in the founding of our country, a time that fascinates us still.
Married in 1764 by Abigail's reverend father, the young couple worked side by side for a decade, raising a family while John's status as one of the most prosperous, respected lawyers in Massachusetts grew. As his duties within the new republic expanded, the Adamses endured a long period of sporadic separations. But their loyalty and love kept their bond firm across the distance, as is evident in their tender letters. It's in this correspondence that Abigail comes into her own as a woman of politics, offering words of advice and encouragement to a husband whose absences were crucial to the independence they both cherished. And it's also in these exchanges that they worked through the familial tragedies that tested them: the death of their son Charles from alcoholism and the impoverishment and early death of their daughter Nabby.
Through its fifty-four years, the union of John and Abigail Adams was based on mutual respect and ambition, intellect and equality, that went far beyond the conventional bond. Abigail and John is an inspirational portrait of a couple who endured the turmoil and trials of a revolution, and in so doing paved the way for the birth of a nation.