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Dearest friend : a life of Abigail Adams por…
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Dearest friend : a life of Abigail Adams (original 1981; edição 2001)

por Lynne Withey

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636728,267 (3.69)30
Rich with excerpts from her incomparable letters and alive with the ferment of a new nation, Dearest Friend is the first full biography of Abigail Adams, the unschooled minister's daughter who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America.
Membro:JRhode
Título:Dearest friend : a life of Abigail Adams
Autores:Lynne Withey
Informação:New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001. xiv, 369 p. : ill. ; 25 cm. 1st Touchstone ed
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
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Dearest Friend: A Life of Abigail Adams por Lynne Withey (1981)

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Owning this book was sort of an accident. I had put a book called My Dearest Friend on my wishlist -- it was supposed to be largely just the collected letters between Abigail and John Adams. Andrew had made a list of the books on my wishlist and headed to a local bookstore and picked this up instead, thinking he'd gotten the book on my list. Oh, well. It was still very sweet!

This is more a straight-up biography, of course largely based on those letters, among other things, and sometimes containing excerpts from those letters. It seemed promising, with a lovely quote on the front from The Boston Globe of all places, saying it was "as lively, sensible, and forthright as the woman about whom it is written..." Personally, I would drop the word "lively" from the description. At times this book was so dry that the only thing that kept me reading was how excessively interested in Abigail Adams I have been from the beginning.

I acknowledge that I may have made the author's task more difficult by an over-familiarity with the subject. The basic details of her life I already know -- from 1776 and the John Adams mini-series, among other places. Every once in a while, Dearest Friend would sputter into life, and I would sit up, feeling like I was getting a truer glimpse into the details of Abigail's life -- a feeling for what it really must have been like to live that life. Then it would fade back into what seemed like a dry recitation of "and then this happened, and then this...."

I am probably being overly harsh on this poor book. Maybe the quote on the cover jaded me. Maybe I just wanted too deeply to be swept away with love for Abigail. Certainly I read the entire book with interest. But still, I want the book that was originally on my list. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
When my grandmother passed a few years ago, I inherited some of her books (as the big reader in the family, almost by default). Among them was this one - a book that my mother had given her to read with the note you'll find at the bottom of this post.

I honestly don't know why I put up with having so many biographies in my possession. I dislike them immensely. They rarely illustrate a full life, especially when it's the life of someone who lived so long ago; we are subject to what was left behind almost incidentally as opposed to recorded, on top of which the writer - who means to interpret and illustrate that life for the reader - often leaves off the least-appetizing bits and inflates the subject's importance.

I don't deny Abigail Adams her influence. She was assuredly one of the most influential women in early American history, and she definitely suffered for it. But in Dearest Friend Lynn Withey really makes it feel as if Abigail was the only influential woman of the time, which is incorrect. And while Withey does not shy away from Abigail's personal faults, she does gloss them over by focusing so strongly on her loneliness, as if that were an excuse.

And from this book, you cannot tell that Abigail and John had any real feeling for one another. The author describes letters between the two of them and often fills space by saying that John did not write often, but still insists that the feelings were strong. In 1981, when this book was first published, this might have been acceptable. In 2016, it doesn't pass muster. I would rather have just read their letters. Instead, it was just a lot of Abigail Adams feeling sorry for herself and trying to control everyone else.

She decides to add rooms to her house, but we don't get an explanation of why. She agrees with her husband's politics (Federalist) until suddenly neither of them do, and then she starts agreeing with the Republicans - but so little is said about what was happening at the time and what could have influenced that change in her vision other than a mention of John Quincy explaining something that we never get the benefit of understanding; it reads more like an outline than a true-to-life story. It's an illustration that is neither complete nor appealing and, as a reader, it is a bit of an affront to my intelligence.

One note: in the epilogue, Withey mentions that although Abigail did not live to see it (spoiler alert?)
she was the "first and only woman ever to be both wife and mother of American Presidents." In 2001, 20 years after this book was published and 200 years since John Adams vacated the Presidency, Barbara Bush became the second. Though I very much doubt that Mrs. Bush ever had to make as many sacrifices, or was ever called on to advise, as much as Abigail was. I also very much doubt that Barbara would ever be caught hanging her laundry in the east room of the White House.

www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Aug 21, 2016 |
(life of Abigail Adams — letters)
A person of an independent mind — can't be consistent — Hard to accept there are legitimate differences of opinion

This is the life of Abigail Adams, wife of patriot John Adams, who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America. Rich with excerpts from her personal letters, Dearest Friend captures the public and private sides of this fascinating woman, who was both an advocate of slave emancipation and a burgeoning feminist, urging her husband to “Remember the Ladies” as he framed the laws of their new country.
Esta crítica foi assinalada por vários utilizadores como um abuso dos termos do serviço. Por isso, não é mostrada (mostrar).
  christinejoseph | Jul 20, 2016 |
Book club selection enjoyed by all. Abigail Adams amazed us by her strength of character & ability to manage properties while her husband was away conducting business for the new government of America. Loved the letters exchanged between Abigail & John ( )
  AdmiralLHH | Mar 4, 2010 |
A great way to learn history (through the eyes of women). Wonderful book about Abigail Adams and her family (past U.S. Presidents). ( )
  lmnop2652 | Feb 28, 2010 |
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Abigail Adams was a tiny woman, little more than five feet tall, with dark hair, piercing dark eyes, and a forceful personality that belied her size.  Quiet and reserved as a child, she nonetheless displayed a brilliant mind and fierce determination even then.
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God willing...I must be withing the Scent of the sea. - John Adams
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive...It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the Atmosphere. - Thomas Jefferson
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Rich with excerpts from her incomparable letters and alive with the ferment of a new nation, Dearest Friend is the first full biography of Abigail Adams, the unschooled minister's daughter who became the most influential woman in Revolutionary America.

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