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Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 3, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The argument of this brisk biography is summed up by the subtitle: Sam Adams (1722–1803)—whom most Americans know principally as that jolly guy on the beer bottles—was a major architect of American independence. Indeed, he was the only founding father to argue for independence from England before shots were fired at Lexington. A native Bostonian and brilliant political strategist, Adams led the protests in the 1760s over the Sugar and Stamp Acts, as well as the 1773 Boston Tea Party. After war broke out, he slowly nudged other leaders toward a decisive commitment to independence; Puls quotes Thomas Jefferson's description of Adams as "the fountain of our more important measures." Puls follows Adams's distinguished post-Revolutionary career: he weighed in on the Constitution and served as governor of Massachusetts. But, argues Puls (co-author of Uncommon Valor: A Story of Race, Patriotism, and Glory in the Final Battles of the Civil War), Adams was mainly interested in local politics, and sought neither fame nor leadership in the early republic. This account lacks some of the everyday details that enliven biographies—in large part, no doubt, because Adams destroyed much of his correspondence. Still, early American history buffs will enjoy Puls's fine study. Illus.
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From Booklist

In this biography of Samuel Adams, Puls notes that Adams was conspicuous in the colonial defiance that culminated in the American Revolution, but his prominence waned after the War of Independence. That, according to Puls, was an effect of Adams' indifference to historical fame. But his American contemporaries were certain of the man's significance, and so was British royal authority, whose attempt to arrest Adams and John Hancock in 1775 sparked the Battle of Lexington. Puls' portrait, therefore, brings forward a figure overlooked in the contemporary flood of histories about the Founders. Recounting Adams' upbringing, Puls depicts Adams as feckless in business; he preferred talking and writing about politics. But if he was financially impractical, Adams proved masterful at political organization and propaganda, leading Boston's resistance to the succession of British revenue acts after 1763. Amid narrative attention to Adams' activity in assemblies, Puls ably dramatizes selected historical scenes such as the Boston Tea Party, giving history readers a restored sense of Adams' critical role in events. Gilbert Taylor
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403975825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403975829
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,278 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark Puls' Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution is a quick read. It provides a useful sketch of one of the Revolution's major figures--Samuel Adams.

The book takes a chronological perspective, beginning with Adams' childhood and the experiences with his father, a well regarded local businessman (including owning a malt shop) and community leader (becoming a deacon in his church and a member of the legislature).

The story continues with his education and efforts to make a life for himself. He was not overly ambitious for economic success and, after his father's death, essentially saw the family brewery go bankrupt. Nonetheless, he hustled and was able to make ends meet, although times were often tough for him and his family.

Early on, Sam Adams became discontented with aspects of the Massachusetts colony's relationship with England, the King, and Parliament. He was one of the leading agitators in the 1760s and 1770s. He was developer of several innovations, such as the Committees of Correspondence throughout the colonies, a mechanism to enhance communication across boundaries. He was involved in many of the key activities leading to the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War, including urging a Continental Congress, fighting against English taxes, seeking the naming of George Washington as the general officer to lead the colonial forces in the siege of Boston. The biography continues with his role in development of the first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, as well as his part in the ratification of the Constitution itself.

This is a serviceable biography. However, it does have a couple problematic aspects.
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Format: Hardcover
When we think of our founding fathers the names of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison come to mind. However, prior to these men becoming household names we had Samuel Adams, rabblerouser and trailblazer. Sam Adams is often overlooked because he neglected to document his place in history regarding our break with England. He was not a material person, and while others wrote autobiograhies he made no effort to see that his place in history would be secure. At brewing beer he was a failure, but at starting a revolution he rated A+. He did possess the gift of leadership and organization which led other members of The Sons of Liberty to follow him, and to assure that the other colonies became united against the abuses of England towards the American colonies. Adams suffered several personal losses throughout his life. Among them the death of his first wife, several children including his physician son Dr. Sam Adams, who served as a battlefield surgeon during the Revolutionary War, and a physical affliction of palsy which made it difficult for him to write. In regard to the Constitution he saw the need for a check and balance of powers among the three branches of government. The book is only 237 pages long, but it's about time we had a biography of this neglected founding father, because he saw independence as a goal for America before it entered the mind of anyone else.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When you read about most revolutionary war figures - Washington, Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson or Madison - their stories more or less start with the American Revolution. Even Ben Franklin, a member of an earlier generation, did not jump on the Independence wagon very early or very easily. Samuel Adams, however, was the most important figure in the early Independence movement and quite rightfully deserves the title Father of the American Revolution.

Mark Puls brief (less than 250 pages of text) biography shows how important Adams was. From an early age, Adams started thinking of independence from England. In 1764, he unsuccessfully opposed the Sugar Act, but laid the foundation for his battle against the 1765 Stamp Act. Showing both good organizational ability and political savvy, he was able to successfully organize a boycott that forced Parliament to repeal the measure. Although it would take a decade to take root, this was really the first blow for independence; it began harder and harder for the British to deal with colonial unrest.

Eventually, after acts like the Boston Massacre and Boston Tea Party, the rift widened and reconciliation, though attempted, was clearly impossible. During the Revolutionary War, Adams played key roles behind the scenes. Although not an author of the Declaration of Independence, his ideas permeated the document; he also helped construct the Articles of Confederation. After the war, however, other figures moved into the spotlight, a role he was fine with giving up.

In ways Samuel Adams was an idealist, willing to sacrifice his health and financial well-being to accomplish his objectives. He was also, however, a pragmatist, able to work behind the scenes to meet his goals.
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Format: Hardcover
No one has articulated it any better than Mark Puls when he states in his concluding remarks that " Americans of his generation came to view Samuel Adams as the spirit of liberty and the patriarch of liberty". Jefferson may have written about the ideals of independence more eloquently; Washington may have acted upon those ideals more directly; and, Franklin may have translated those ideals more concretely abroad to our French allies; however, no one of our founding fathers wrote more frequently, acted more fervently, or lived more fully and focused on the prize of separation and independence than Samuel Adams.

Maybe it's because Adams shunned the spotlight and the attention that others of his era sought so impassionately to grasp, or perhaps, he was content to simply see from the background the ultimate fruits of his prodigious labors. Whatever the reason, Adams emerged as the leading patriot strategist,politician as well as most influential writer in America. The author has truly captured the essence of the man who deservedly is called the Father of the American Revolution. It is a well-witten, if not long overdue, tribute to the mastermind behind the War of independence.
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