Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Review

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.

Title:Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • This is a double biography that recounts the lives of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. It also recounts the creation of the republic. This is primarily a book about ideas as represented by two of the ...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Wood sees the world through the point of view of his two great men. That's good most of the time, but it renders him tone deaf at others. His comment in the first few pages that being a gentleman or c...

  • 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...

  • This was really an interesting book, fascinating really! It's an easy-ish read for history and very helpful in understanding the time and legacy of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two very key player...

  • Gordon Wood is the preeminent historian on the American Revolutionary War period and the author of "Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815," which is the official installment in...

  • 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...

  • 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...