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Samuel Adams: A Life Audible – Unabridged

4.3 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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By Julian Barnes on November 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a must-buy for anyone who loved McCullough's John Adams or Isaacson's Benjamin Franklin. Ira Stoll puts Sam Adams back where he belongs, front and center with the great founding fathers. But "Samuel Adams, A Life" is not merely a work of history, it is a powerful argument about the ideas that made America and still, to this day, shape the nation. Stoll demonstrates, through the life and writing of Adams, how much religion and property rights motivated the revolutionaries of New England. From the first chapter, I felt I was not just learning about important history, but I was also gaining insight into the character of America. This book is bound to help change how we think about the Revolution. And it will help us understand how Sam Adams continues to influence our own era.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most books you read on the revolution make at least some reference to Samuel Adams. Books dealing with the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution even more so. This in mind I decided to read a bit more on the man.

Why should you read this book? It gives great background on Adams and the Commonwealth of Massachusettes prior to the start of the revolution, discusses a lot about S. Adams' role in bringing it about, and in doing both gives us some important background on the role religion did and did not play in both.

S. Adams stands somewhat alone as the religious voice of the founding fathers. While many had strong beliefs of their own, this man was driven by them. His life and legacy centered around religion and the role he thought it played in a just and lasting society.

The book never takes his side on the matter, in fact does a pretty good job of showing many others as much more supportive of a govenment that was
tolerant to everyone including those Adams refered to as "Papists".

If you're interested in the founding fathers do not miss this book. There may be better ones out there but this book is fairly easy to read and includes a lot of letters to, from, and about S. Adams and some reference to the role of the newspapers as well.

One of the few founding fathers with no military or law experience he was nonetheless on of the most important men of his time and this book tells why in a very inviting manner.
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Format: Hardcover
In "Samuel Adams: A Life," journalist Ira Stoll has rescued from relative (and undeserved) obscurity one of the most influential and fascinating figures of the American Revolutionary generation. Samuel Adams was one of the earliest and most zealous of the Boston firebrands. At the same time, he was imbued with a worldview inherited from his Puritan ancestors that placed the urgent events of the day in God's time. His "religious tranquillity" was much commented upon by his contemporaries, and Stoll is committed to understanding the paradox of the "tranquil revolutionary." Stoll's crystal clear and plain-spoken prose is entirely fitting for his equally plain-spoken subject. What emerges is a full-blooded portrait of a man whose idea of America resonates -- and often tellingly contrasts -- with positions on the right and left in our own debates about the nation's course and what it means to be a patriotic American. For history scholars and enthusiasts, for anyone interested in the origins of American political culture, and for today's political junkies, this book is a wonderful read.
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Format: Paperback
My interest in Samuel Adams increased after watching the John Adams television series. So when I spotted this book I decided to give it a try. It was a good decision to say the least. I have read through the reviews on this site and note some criticism. Here is my take. First, I liked the extensive quotations because I like to read primary source material; it doesn't get altered by the author and one can get closer to the truth using it. Second, I don't find the book at all "dry" as some reviewers mentioned. If those reviewers want more excitement they can read fictional works. The farther away one gets from primary sources the more "excitement" that can be created by the author because the truth can be adjusted. Third, the religious perspective that Adams had was so interesting to me that I am beginning to think a bit differently about religion now. Although I am in the Richard Dawkins camp regarding religion, after reading this book it certainly does seem that the good, moral values that one associates with religion and going to church helped to motivate the Revolutionary generation enough to make Independence work. Even though the end of footnote 37 for the last chapter of the book suggests that the motivation for the Revolution was primarily political, not religious, a point on which I do agree, at the same time it also seems to me that a less God-fearing group of people would have had a tougher time winning. The emotional support provided by religion had to have helped motivate those people. Let me clarify this a little. It is estimated by some that eighty percent of the Israeli population do not believe in God.Read more ›
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