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My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams
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My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams

4.13  ·  Rating Details ·  1,264 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
In 1762, John Adams penned a flirtatious note to "Miss Adorable," the 17-year-old Abigail Smith. In 1801, Abigail wrote to wish her husband John a safe journey as he headed home to Quincy after serving as president of the nation he helped create. The letters that span these nearly forty years form the most significant correspondence--and reveal one of the most intriguing a ...more
Hardcover, 508 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Belknap Press (first published 1840)
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John Adams by David McCullough1776 by David McCulloughTeam of Rivals by Doris Kearns GoodwinA People's History of the United States by Howard ZinnBattle Cry of Freedom by James M. McPherson
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kelly
As interesting reading material, I'll say that this collection of letters varied from five stars to negative -100. Since I'm not offered the amount of stars that I feel would allow me to properly and completely describe my rollercoastering level of interest, I'll have to settle for three. Perhaps we could have a "choose your own description" for each star end? Like, "one=I'd rather chop onions for a day while being forced to listen to Its a Small World on Repeat than read /that/ letter again," t ...more
Rebecca
Aug 18, 2008 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Beth Anne
Dec 20, 2013 Beth Anne rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Really interesting to read the letters of John and Abigail Adams to each other over the course of the formative years of the United States.

As a history buff, their perspectives on different historical events are intriguing. Even more so, as a wife, their letters reminded me how privilege we are to have easy communication.

Most letters began by telling the other which letter had just been received (and it was never the one that had most recently been written). Additionally, they went through man
...more
Lisa
Jul 30, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
This is a collection of 289 of the letters between Abigail and John from 1762 to 1801 when they finally retired to their farm at Braintree. While it is satisfying to read the letters in their own right, the reader who is familiar with the history of the time will find this book particularly interesting.

From early in their marriage, John's work as a "founding father" kept them apart for months and sometimes years. Their letters were their connection, and the editors have chosen letters that illus
...more
Chrisanne
Jan 26, 2013 Chrisanne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, non-fiction
Abigail Adams is my new heroine. I love the humor, the intelligence, the pathos that she possess and how easily it is to relate to this woman. But what makes it even better is that John loved her too! Take that, people who say that marriage to one person for a lifetime is impossible! And they spent so much time away from each other. . . and it still worked! Reading this book is an immersion into the culture, the worries, the lives and the love of the Adams.
All this definitely came at a price. Y
...more
Anna
Feb 20, 2012 Anna rated it it was amazing
I really took my time to read this book and so enjoyed it. There are 1,167 original letters that remain today between John and Abigail Adams. They had such an incredible love story and throughout his political journey, he looked to Abigail as his greatest confidant and political resource. He consulted her in all matters and despite grueling years apart, their love and marriage survived. I have wanted to read this book forever and it did not disappoint. I would caution other readers that if you d ...more
Alisa Kester
Feb 15, 2009 Alisa Kester rated it it was amazing
I love Abigail Adams because, while she believed women were the equal to men intelligence, she didn't fall into the feminist trap of believing women identical to men. She followed her faith, believing very strongly that her place in life was to support her husband (even when she didn't necessarily agree with his viewpoint) and to care for her family. Which she did, running their farm and holding things together while he was away fighting for America's freedom. She was a true lady all her life an ...more
Cara
May 26, 2009 Cara rated it it was amazing
I am biased because I'm obsessed with these two figures in American history, but I believe this is a must-read. If you take nothing else away from this collection, you will at least be floored by the eloquence, love, and passion that radiates from these letters. I actually got butterflies reading some of them. Some letters were a little less exciting, as they were little more than lists of instructions and things needed on the farm. However, to hear of things that actually happened through the e ...more
Linda
Feb 25, 2009 Linda rated it really liked it
It is a great historical novel at the same time I feel like I am infringing on a very personal relationship between John and Abigail Adams. The letters are elegantly written and a wonderful insight into the lives of those who were the first to shape our great country.
Jimmytheman
Dec 07, 2010 Jimmytheman rated it really liked it
I thought it was an excellent book as it allowed me to connect to a great President and see his human side. John Adams is portrayed as a crank and these letters show the opposite.
James Spurgeon
Apr 08, 2015 James Spurgeon rated it really liked it
This was only a small collection of the letters between John and Abigail Adams. We tend to look back on historical figures that made such a positive difference as being larger than life. Reading these letters, one can see how normal they really were. They worried about their kids, about each other, about their extended family and friends, and about domestic issues... and not just the history they were a part of. They were separated for so many years for the good of a nation that they helped to c ...more
Megan
Mar 28, 2009 Megan rated it liked it
Only one hundred pages left (of 479) and I'm giving up on this book. It has been a very interesting read and I have learned a lot about John and Abigail Adams by reading their letters, but I'm burned out. The letters use the original spelling and punctuation and things like Fryday and dutifull and inteligance make my hand itch for a red pen. Also, there is only brief biographical information at the beginning of each chapter and I am finding that there a lot of the time I just don't understand wh ...more
Carol
Dec 02, 2009 Carol rated it really liked it
Letters! How History is enriched by the personal corresponde nce of it's key players. What will be the current generation's contribution? E-mails, Text messages. Tweets (grin)



Octr 4th. 1762
John Adams to Abigail

"Miss Adorable"


Braintree, March 31, 1776
Abigail Adams to John Adams

"I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable
to them than your ancestors."


August 14, 1776
Abigail Adams to John Adams

"If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the fir
...more
Kathleen
Jul 21, 2012 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, I teared up while reading a letter from John Adams concerning the death of his beloved "Miss Adorable" and "Dearest Friend" Abigail Adams, an event that occurred over 190 years ago that is chronicled at the close of this volume.

What an incredible experience it was to read the complete letters of John and Abby. It was like being a fly on the wall to witness one of the greatest partnerships in history. Their letters demonstrate how they experienced the momentous events they helped shape and
...more
Cara
Oct 06, 2010 Cara marked it as to-read
Reading this one with Abigail and John for context. John and Abigail Adams come highly recommended, but I didn't want to read them when I was happily single because I didn't want to start pining for what I didn't have. Now that I'm in a happy relationship, it seems safe enough.

So far, I find these letters sweet, tender, and occasionally, unexpectedly, hysterical. Abigail to John: "But heigh day Mr. whats your Name? Who taught you to threaten so vehemently 'A Character besides that of critick, in
...more
Julie
May 12, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing
Wow, FINALLY finishing this book of letters feels like a huge accomplishment! Though it took me a few months, this collection of John + Abigail Adams' letters is by no means boring. What a treasure trove of information, affection, personal events and political opinions - there's nothing like them! And during a time where women weren't included in the public sphere, John and Abigail had a wonderful relationship - John asked for and needed Abigail's sound advice on just about every big decision he ...more
Abby
Nov 09, 2014 Abby added it
This is the single most interesting thing I have read all year. It is a history refresher full of spellbinding suspense ("John, I haven't slept in two days because of the cannonfire..."), interest (the whole family being innoculated for smallpox, a five-week process not considered successful until you were actually sick), intrigue (frank appraisals of such familiar figures as Washington, Jefferson, and Franklin), pathos (Abigail having to tell her absent husband about their stillborn daughter). ...more
Cyndie
Nov 29, 2014 Cyndie rated it liked it
Recommended to Cyndie by: Adams National Historical Park
Shelves: own, non-fiction
Letters that reveal how similar life was even at the turn of the century as it is today. Early relationship courtships and squabbles mature with time into the back and forth of everyday logistics and family affairs. Some truly fascinating pieces in here, but much is much like reading you're neighbor's mail. A bit of a tough read, but worth it for the gems. Enjoyable.

Despite how inevitable it seems to us now, so much of the revolution and the foundation of our country was people flying by the se
...more
Tamra
Mar 28, 2009 Tamra rated it liked it
After reading "John Adams" by David McCullough, I was anxious to read this book and it was good but some of the letters written between John and Abigail were hard to understand. The author was not very good at explaining terms or conditions that were going on at the time. Also, although the author thought it was interesting to let the reader read the letters as they had been written by John and Abigail (including all mistakenly capitalized words, misspelled words and poor grammar), it made it ha ...more
Eliza
Feb 28, 2012 Eliza rated it really liked it
This book is a compilation of the letters written between Abigail and John Adams from the time they were courting all the way through their presidency.

I loved reading about their insights during all of the different things that they experienced personally and politically. It was interesting to see their dreams and hopes and the ups and downs that they went through. They were indeed ordinary people called to handle extraordinary things.

I will say though that I had a really hard time getting thro
...more
Marjorie Hakala
Aug 15, 2008 Marjorie Hakala rated it it was amazing
I definitely recommend this if you have any interest in the period. Some of the editors' choices were a little odd--for example, quoting a letter at the introduction to a chapter but not actually including that letter in the text--and there wasn't much framing material, so I got lost sometimes concerning, for example, where the Adams children were a lot of the time. (Abigail apparently had the same problem when John Quincy was off traveling through Europe: "Where is our son, I hear no more of hi ...more
Crystal
Jun 15, 2016 Crystal rated it it was amazing
This book is really good, but not fast reading. While I understand what they're saying in the letters, sometimes interpreting their spelling and phrases makes it like translating. I gave up on having the library book long enough to finish it, so I'm going to buy a copy for myself instead. it's that good.
Watching the John Adams miniseries in tandem with reading this was really interesting--I kept saying, "that phrase was in their letters. and THAT phrase is in their letters!" it's interesting to
...more
Barbara
Dec 03, 2014 Barbara rated it really liked it
What a wonderful love story full of trials, faith and hope. The lives of these two founders are always fascinating and real. Their letters are uplifting and inspiring.
Lu
Oct 25, 2009 Lu rated it it was amazing
These are so touching and profound at times I cried. I happened to watch most of the John Adams HBO mini series as I read, and I'll tell you, a bunch of the lines in the movie are quoted directly from their letters.

As is the typical fate of my non-fiction books, I didn't officially finish reading this one, but it was mostly because it was too emotionally draining for me--I really feel for Abigail running a household without her husband, wanting his presence, advice, comfort and being in a consta
...more
Laura
Jul 05, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy American social history
Recommended to Laura by: PJP
The letters are an amazing mixture of political commentary and everyday concerns about their children, neighbors, extended family, and farm. Their writings have changed these famous figures into real people in my mind and heart. They endured so much and spent years of their married life apart. As compelling as the letters can be, I did have to force my way through the book at times. As other reviews have mentioned, it would have been very helpful to have more context from the editors within the ...more
Michael
Apr 13, 2011 Michael rated it liked it
The letters are lovely and a really interesting peak into the Adams' relationship, but an opportunity was missed to heighten the experience with a little editorial context. What were the secret happenings in the Continental Congress that John alluded to but couldn't spell out in so many of his letters? What was happening in the world when Abigail wrote to John that the price of molasses had skyrocketed? Presented in their nearly naked form, they will appear to some casual readers, but probably m ...more
Liz
Feb 16, 2015 Liz added it
Shelves: 2015
more for my lit class
Jill
Aug 11, 2008 Jill rated it liked it
Good read- tough to get into. Language is a huge barrier - the letters are transcribed verbatim, spelling and grammar mistakes in all. A very wonderful collection of John and Abigail Adams letters that really gives an amazing insight into the relationship of the couple through their courtship and marriage. It will be helpful to have a pocket guide to important dates of the American Revolution to reference, as the book's editors don't do an exceptional job of helping frame the letters with the cu ...more
Kerry Clair
Jan 21, 2016 Kerry Clair rated it it was amazing
Loved this.
Jessica
John & Abigail Adams were deeply in love and partners in life. It's great to catch a glimpse into a really strong marriage of two incredibly intelligent, insightful and moral people caught up in an historic time and place. The Revolutionary War has never seemed more real to me, and knowing how much of their friendship and marriage was spent separated due to John's work in establishing American values and government gives me new inspiration to patriotic civic-mindedness.
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1479
Abigail Adams (née Smith) was the wife of John Adams, the second President of the United States and the mother of John Quincy Adams the sixth, and is seen as the first Second Lady of the United States and the second First Lady of the United States though the terms were not coined until after her death.

Adams is remembered today for the many letters she wrote to her husband while he stayed in Philad
...more
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“Its never to late to get back on your feet though we wont live forever make sure you accomplish what you were put here for” 42 likes
“I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.” 24 likes
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