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Download Abigail Adams Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Abigail Adams, by Woody Holton Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (504 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Woody Holton Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Abigail Adams offers a fresh perspective on the famous events of Adams’ life, and along the way, Woody Holton, a renowned historian of the American Revolution, takes on numerous myths about the men and women of the founding era. But the book also demonstrates that domestic dramas—from unplanned pregnancies to untimely deaths—could be just as heartbreaking, significant, and inspiring as the actions of statesmen and soldiers. A special focus of the book is Adams’ complex relationships: with her mother, sisters, and children; with her husband’s famous contemporaries; and with Phoebe, one of her father’s slaves. At the same time that John exhibited his own diplomatic skills on a better-known canvas, Abigail struggled to prevent the charitable gifts she gave her sisters from coming between them. In a departure from the persistently upbeat tone of most Adams biographies, Holton’s work shows how frequently her life was marred by tragedy, making this the deepest, most humanistic portrayal ever published. Using the matchless trove of Adams family manuscripts, the author steps back to allow Abigail to respond to her many losses in her own words.

Holton reveals that Abigail Adams sharply disagreed with her husband’s financial decisions and assumed control of the family’s money herself—earning them a tidy fortune through her shrewd speculations (this during a time when married women were not permitted to own property). And he shows that her commitment to women’s equality and education was intense and explicitly expressed and practical, from the more than two thousand letters she wrote over her lifetime to her final will (written in defiance of legislation prohibiting married women from bequeathing property).

Alternately witty, poignant, and uplifting, Holton’s narrative sheds new light on one of America’s best-loved but least-understood icons.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Holton vividly captures the brilliance, charm, and spunk of Abigail Adams, and shows why she deserves her place at the table along with her husband, John, and the other Founders.”

    Walter Isaacson, New York Times bestselling author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

  • “Holton’s work draws on…rich sources to offer a comprehensive yet highly readable account of Abigail’s life.”

    Washington Post

  • “Holton…provides a fresh perspective that invites [listeners] to do more than just remember this remarkable lady. They will admire her moxie.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Holton…allows Abigail’s voice to radiate off the page; the biography grips the reader from the beginning.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Holton’s superb biography shows us a three-dimensional Adams as a forward-thinking woman with a mind of her own.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Holton seamlessly blends Abigail Adams’s copious letters and journals with explanatory text. Narrator Cassandra Campbell’s delivery of this well-researched biography is equally smooth.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rebecca | 2/6/2014

    " I loved reading about early American History through the life experiences of Abigail Adams. She was a intelligent, tough woman who placed her relationships with her family as her highest priority. Very educational! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Danielle | 2/4/2014

    " This was a great biography! Occasionally, some of the money stuff was a little dry, but it was such a complete portrait of Abigail Adams. She was such an amazing woman, especially in the context of her time. All of the excerpts from letters to and from her made it an even better read. Definitely a book to recommend if you'd like to know more about a prominent founding mother in America. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jill | 1/31/2014

    " I gave this four stars for content more than structure or excellent writing. It is remarkable how personal this book became while listening to it in the nation's capital. I have always been intrigued by the Adams family and their lives' intertwining with the birth and early history of our nation. Abigail herself is someone I think I would have really gotten on with, but what a meddler! She really stepped over the line a lot - particularly with John Quincy. He, however, seemed very quick to forgive her. There were several stories of hard feelings between formerly close friends (Jefferson, Mercy Warren, etc.), most of which reconciled after many years. It was interesting to see the theme of forgiveness in the lives of the Adams. I particularly enjoyed the author's not being afraid to show Abigail's weaknesses and character flaws. I liked Abigail all the more for her being aware of these herself for the most part. This is a fairly exhaustive biography, and I really enjoyed all that I learned from it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Martha | 1/22/2014

    " Abigail Adams has always been one of my favorite founding mothers. However, her vibrant life became dull in the pages of this book. I had the book for 2 months from the library and had to finally just turn it back in without finishing it. I would like to try a different biography about Mrs. Adams. Any suggestions? I thought this was really dry reading and at times hard to follow. Lots of odd tangents, they were brought back to her life but some so insignificant that it made the flow of reading falter. "

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About the Author

Woody Holton is an associate professor of history at the University of Richmond in Virginia and a former Guggenheim fellow. He is the author of the award-winning books Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution, a finalist for the National Book Award, and Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves, and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia, which earned him a prestigious Merle Curti Award for Social History from the Organization of American Historians. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.