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Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

by Gordon S. Wood

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Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
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Overview

Overview

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson by Gordon S. Wood

A New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 2017

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimist with enough faith in the innate goodness of his fellow man to be democracy's champion, was an aristocratic Southern slaveowner, while Adams, the overachiever from New England's rising middling classes, painfully aware he was no aristocrat, was a skeptic about popular rule and a defender of a more elitist view of government. They worked closely in the crucible of revolution, crafting the Declaration of Independence and leading, with Franklin, the diplomatic effort that brought France into the fight. But ultimately, their profound differences would lead to a fundamental crisis, in their friendship and in the nation writ large, as they became the figureheads of two entirely new forces, the first American political parties. It was a bitter breach, lasting through the presidential administrations of both men, and beyond. 

But late in life, something remarkable happened: these two men were nudged into reconciliation. What started as a grudging trickle of correspondence became a great flood, and a friendship was rekindled, over the course of hundreds of letters. In their final years they were the last surviving founding fathers and cherished their role in this mighty young republic as it approached the half century mark in 1826. At last, on the afternoon of July 4th, 50 years to the day after the signing of the Declaration, Adams let out a sigh and said, "At least Jefferson still lives." He died soon thereafter. In fact, a few hours earlier on that same day, far to the south in his home in Monticello, Jefferson died as well. 

Arguably no relationship in this country's history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Gordon Wood has more than done justice to these entwined lives and their meaning; he has written a magnificent new addition to America's collective story.

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Product Details
ISBN-13:
9780735224711
9780735224711
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/24/2017
Pages:
512
512
Sales rank:
143
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)
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About the Author

About the Author

Gordon S. Wood is the Alva O. Way University Professor and professor of history at Brown University. His books have received the Pulitzer, Bancroft and John H. Dunning prizes, as well as a National Book Award nomination and the New York Historical Society Prize in American History. They include Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, Revolutionary Characters, The Purpose of the Past, The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin, and The Idea of America.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Eulogies 1

1 Contrasts 7

2 Careers, Wives, and Other Women 38

3 The Imperial Crisis 69

4 Independence 103

5 Missions Abroad 137

6 Constitutions 167

7 The French Revolution 204

8 Federalists and Republicans 240

9 The President vs. the Vice President 279

10 The Jeffersonian Revolution of 1800 320

11 Reconciliation 356

12 The Great Reversal 389

Epilogue The National Jubilee 426

Acknowledgments 435

Notes 437

Index 485

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Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

This is an engrossing story, which Wood tells with a mastery of detail and a modern plainness of expression that makes a refreshing contrast with the 18th-century locutions of his subjects.

The New York Times Book Review - Richard Brookhiser
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