Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

by

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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Title:Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson
ISBN:9780735224711
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    Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Reviews

  • Jill Meyer

    On July 4, 1826, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, two men died. One, Thomas Jefferson, died at Monticello in Virginia, while the other, John Adams, died far a...

  • Jillian Doherty

    Like Churchill and Orwell this awesome duel biography highlights not only both men's journeys, but illustrates how they became who they were because of their relationship.Although these founding fathe...

  • Robert Melnyk

    This book details the relationship, both personal and political, between two or our most famous founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These two men came from different backgrounds and dif...

  • Matthew Hyde

    So I fortunate enough to win the historical book Friends Divided in the goodreads giveaway. This book was excellent from front to back. Gordon S. Wood does an amazing job of covering the important det...

  • Kristi Richardson

    This won't be a traditional review but instead what I learned from reading this book that I didn't know before. John Adams was accused of being too pro British because he supported a Constitution base...

  • David Dunlap

    Wonderful book that has been most enlightening -- and has served to adjust this reader's assessment, at least, of both Adams and Jefferson. -- The opening chapter, in which the author contrasts the ba...

  • Cheryl

    This book provides an interesting perspective into the governing philosophy, temperament, and views on democracy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of our founding fathers. These two men couldn't...

  • Brion

    The title of this book tells a lot about the 50 year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They met at the beginning of the country around 1776 and had a long relationship lasting unti...

  • R.A. Filce

    If you have read other books by Wood, you will find much of this repetitive. However, the more he drills down into Adams and Jefferson, the better the book gets. I enjoyed the second half of the book ...

  • Steve

    A wonderful and interesting book, This is like a dual biography of men from different worlds. John Adams grew up in a middle class family in Massachusetts. While Thomas Jefferson grew up in a aristroc...