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Abigail Adams: A Writing Life Paperback – February 8, 2002

3.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Gelles, a senior scholar at the Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Stanford Univ., and author of Portia: The World of Abigail Adams, provides a literary-biographical analysis of Adams's letters. She shows that Adams began as a relatively traditional wife, though one in a marriage based on choice and mutual friendship, but was then transformed into a farm and investment manager for her family, hostess for her ambassador husband, and confidante and adviser when he became the second President of the United States. Adams uses her considerable literary talent in voluminous correspondence, reminding her husband of women's legal needs, seeking out Mercy Otis Warren as a mentor until there was no longer any need for mentoring, and coping gracefully with the isolation imposed by sea travel and by living in France and England. Highly recommended for historians, literary critics, feminists, and general readers and for both general and special collections. Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Coll., Farmville, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Review

"All this Edith Gelles relates with clarity and warmth...this is a perceptive study and a lively incentive to read the correspondence itself."
-Economist, March 30, 2002
"Edith Gelles's newly published biography and critique...offers an excellent entry point for anyone whi is interested in Abigail Adams as a writer.."
-" Biography Spring 2003
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (February 8, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415939453
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415939454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.6 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,574,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Abigail Adams: A Writing Life by Edith B. Gelles (Senior Scholar, Institute for Research on Women and Gender, Stanford University) is a careful, articulate, scholarly analysis of the literary and historical work of Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams and mother of John Quincy Adams. Half biography, half literary criticism, Abigail Adams: A Writing Life studies Mrs. Adams' letters as literature and looks at her correspondence in-depth. A marvelous portrayal of a unique woman in America's history, Abigail Adams: A Writing Life is highly recommended for Women's Studies and American Literary Studies supplemental reading lists and academic reference collections.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a great book to really get to see what went on in the life of a great American heroine, Abigail Adams. After reading this book to help with a school project on women in history, I thought, "Who was really wearing the pants in the Adams family?"
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Abigail Adams: A Writing Life by Edith B. Gelles was a complete let down. The author, however, is a senior scholar at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University, and is qualified to pen this book. The book does provide, to an extent, information and resources about Abigail Adams writing and literature that could be useful in some cases. Unless interested to begin with, don't choose this book for any pleasure reading. Although this book could be helpful in some ways, it is not worth reading because of its slow pace, difficult language and lack of timeline.
From beginning to end, the book was at a very slow moving pace. The unappealing way in which the author includes every insignificant aspect of Abigail's life creates a lull in the rhythm of its flow. So many simple letters she writes to her husband or friend is analyzed and took into so much depth to where you read about it for 15 pages or more, such as, "Remember the Ladies," a letter written to her husband, John Adams. This was written for him to always remember the women working at home and to keep in mind that all women and men should be treated as equals. While attempting to read this book, it seemed to drag on as if reading so little in so much time, especially the very first chapter.
It is a resourceful book, yet is a difficult read because it lacks pace, uses unfamiliar language and jumps from date to date in a non sequential manner. While the biography of the book gives its readers a lot of factual information, her literary works interwoven into the framework of the book, made it very difficult to follow. It is apparent that Abigail Adams is a fascinating historical figure, and I am sure other authors have written books that are easier to read and that are more interesting.
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