My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams

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Separated more often than they were together over a 40-year span, John and Abigail Adams shared their lives through letters that each addressed to "My Dearest Friend." This new collection invites readers to experience the founding of a nation and the partnership of two strong individuals, in their own words.

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Feb 13, 2009

Wonderful Book!

We are lucky these letters have survived. It was not uncommon for all of a person's letters to be burned after their death. Thankfully, the Adams children realized that their parents correspondence was something to be treasured, and saved for posterity's' sake.

The letters of John and Abigail Adams are beautifully presented in this volume. They are thoughtfully chosen, well organized, and edited in such a way as to preserve the style of the letters without making them overly difficult for modern readers.

The mutual admiration between John and Abigail is clear in every sentence of these letters. The correspondence covers decades of their lives, from their early courtship to childbirth, from the Battle of Bunker Hill to John's term as President. Many of the letters are letters of love, filled with moving declarations of eternal fidelity and passionate prose.

More telling, though, are the mundane trivialities in the letters. Some of the most compelling letters have nothing at all to do with the founding of our country. Abigail and John write of tea, of farming, of weather, of illnesses. The readers are pulled into the intimacy of the letters; you will find yourself grieving along with Abigail as she writes to John of her mother's death. You will feel the cold cramp in her gut as she struggles with the decision to vaccinate her children against smallpox. You will thrill at her descriptions of the battles of the Revolutionary War being fought mere miles from her home.

It is a fascinating example of marriage and family life in the 18th century, and sheds much light on the private life of America's 2nd President.

This book is a wonderful read, and is suitable for academics looking for a reference book as well as the average person who is looking for a pleasurable read.

So much of what we think we know about our Founding Fathers has been thrown into question in recent years. These brave men and women who lead the charge for Independence have become mythical figures in the American mind. This book gives us a chance to get at the truth behind the legends, and uncover history first hand from the people who founded our country.

If you enjoyed the HBO mini-series JOHN ADAMS, then you should definitely pick up this book.

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