We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Abigail Adams | [Woody Holton]

Abigail Adams

Abigail Adams offers a fresh perspective on the famous events of Adams's life, and along the way, Woody Holton, a renowned historian of the American Revolution, takes on numerous myths about the men and women of the founding era. But the book also demonstrates that domestic dramas---from unplanned pregnancies to untimely deaths---could be just as heartbreaking, significant, and inspiring as the actions of statesmen and soldiers.
Regular Price:$27.99
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

Abigail Adams offers a fresh perspective on the famous events of Adams's life, and along the way, Woody Holton, a renowned historian of the American Revolution, takes on numerous myths about the men and women of the founding era. But the book also demonstrates that domestic dramas---from unplanned pregnancies to untimely deaths---could be just as heartbreaking, significant, and inspiring as the actions of statesmen and soldiers.

A special focus of the book is Adams's complex relationships: with her mother, sisters, and children; with her husband's famous contemporaries; and with Phoebe, one of her father's slaves. At the same time that John exhibited his own diplomatic skills on a better-known canvas, Abigail struggled to prevent the charitable gifts she gave her sisters from coming between them. In a departure from the persistently upbeat tone of most Adams biographies, Holton's work shows how frequently her life was marred by tragedy, making this the deepest, most humanistic portrayal ever published.

Using the matchless trove of Adams family manuscripts, the author steps back to allow Abigail to respond to her many losses in her own words. Holton reveals that Abigail Adams sharply disagreed with her husband's financial decisions and assumed control of the family's money herself---earning them a tidy fortune through her shrewd speculations (this during a time when married women were not permitted to own property). And he shows that her commitment to women's equality and education was intense and explicitly expressed and practical, from the more than two thousand letters she wrote over her lifetime to her final will (written in defiance of legislation prohibiting married women from bequeathing property).

Alternately witty, poignant, and uplifting, Holton's narrative sheds new light on one of America's best-loved but least-understood icons.

©2009 Woody Holton; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Insightful, sensitive, and original.... Here is a bounty of fine-grained social history as well as a feast of language, from the eye and the voice of a historian-poet." (Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (66 )
5 star
 (30)
4 star
 (22)
3 star
 (11)
2 star
 (2)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.2 (37 )
5 star
 (16)
4 star
 (14)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (1)
Story
4.3 (36 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (13)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (1)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Michael Naperville, IL, United States 01-14-10
    Michael Naperville, IL, United States 01-14-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    57
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    4
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    0
    Overall
    "A Remarkable Woman"

    Fantastic book...especially if you've listened to John Adams like I did. I must comment once again on the remarkable and mellifluous voice of Cassandra Campbell. As soon as I noticed she was the reader I was sold. I highly recommend that you look for her when choosing a download.

    Anyway, Abigail Adams. What an amazing woman she was. This book presents the other side of the the John Adams story. How she coped and ran the family during his extended absenses as a career public servant.

    It was interesting to learn how archaic society's view of women was during that time and how she struggled for her own identity within those constraints.

    From the book, John Adams, and hearing about the love letters they wrote, I had the impression that life between the two was all lovey dovey but it really wasn't according to this. Additionally, the book details the sensitive perspective of the family trials and tribulations as they relate to family relationships. Again, from the John Adams book, I knew of the key personal tragedies but they were told from John's male perspective. Not that any of the events were less painful to him but they were written with less emotion that a female does (we're just wired different).

    I was most impressed with Abigail's financial savvy and contribution to the family's wealth through investing and her own business. This woman could do it all...and she did!

    Remarkable...a life well lived.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elaine Stormville, NY, United States 04-27-11
    Elaine Stormville, NY, United States 04-27-11 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "The Better Half of History"

    A completely enjoyable and engaging look at history from the distaff side. I came away more an admirer of Abigail Adams than before. A great way to learn history.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 01-17-12
    Adam IRVING, TX, United States 01-17-12 Member Since 2005

    Adam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    70
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    32
    31
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    9
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very good"

    I have read so much on John Adams that I didn't think this book would contain much information that I didn't already know, but it does. It is well written and tells you a lot about the Adamses in general, and Abigail in particular. John and Abigail (and John Quincy for that matter) left behind so many letters and writings that scholars still haven't been able to go through them all. Because of this, there is so much information about them that one or two books about them simply doesn't tell you even the basics. Not only does this book tell you about Abigail and her family, but shines a light on daily life in her day, which we can only see because the Adamses left behind so many writings. I highly recommend this book, along with the John Adams biography by David McCullough, the book on the two by Joseph Ellis, and the John Quincy biography by Paul Nagel. I have gone through all of these and they all contained a lot of information that I hadn't known before.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 10-19-11
    Michael NAPERVILLE, IL, United States 10-19-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    97
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    410
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Life Well Lived"

    Fantastic book...especially if you've read/listened to John Adams. I have to comment once again on the remarkable and mellifluous voice of Cassandra Campbell. As soon as I noticed she was the reader I was in. I highly recommend that you look for her.

    Anyway, Abigail Adams. What an amazing woman she was. This book presents the other side of the the John Adams story. How she coped and ran the family during his extended absenses as a career public servant.

    Anyway, Abigail Adams. What an amazing woman she was. This book presents the other side of the the John Adams story. How she coped and ran the family during his extended absenses as a career public servant.

    It was interesting to learn how archaic society's view of women was during that time and how she struggled for her own identity within those constraints.

    From John Adams and hearing about the love letters they wrote, I had the impression that life between the two was all lovey-dovey but it really wasn't according to this. Additionally, the book details the sensitive perspective of the family trials and tribulations as they relate to family relationships. From John Adams, I knew of the key personal tragedies but they were told from John's male perspective. Not that any of the events were less painful to him but they were written with less emotion that a female does (we're just wired different).

    I was most impressed with Abigail's financial savvy and contribution to the family's wealth through investing and her own business. This woman could do it all...and she did!

    Remarkable...a life well lived.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ButterLegume Middletown, MD, United States 03-21-14
    ButterLegume Middletown, MD, United States 03-21-14

    Books on tape -- every commuter's friend. American history is my choice but then, in books, as in music, I'm all over the place.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    66
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cements My Understanding of the Former First Lady"

    First, if anyone has read some of my reviews, I have a real "thing" about narrators. As I've said before, a great narrator can save a mediocre book, but a mediocre narrator cannot save a great book. Cassandra Campell has narrated dozens of books, (probably hundreds) and her voice is so clear and unaffected that one finds oneself completely immersed in the story, not the reader. (Scott Brick is another such narrator.) So, five stars for the narrator.

    On to the story. Abigail Adams is an oft discussed First Lady. One reason is because she left copious letters by which to remember her. The other reason is that she apparently had a little something to say. She was wise, and she was smart. She very often chafed at the role in which society placed her and other women during her time in history. "Remember the ladies," is a quote she's remembered for and the fact that her husband, John Adams, made light of the request reinforces that women had a long, long way to go.

    There is a distinct feeling that as time went on, both Adams were cognizant that others may read their correspondence on a world stage. There are some who believe that John Adams' tendency towards envy and jealousy mellowed in time. I disagree, and feel that he because more aware of the impression these traits would leave on generations to come.

    It's a good story, really. Personally, I think if one has a true interest in the Adams "machine," one ought to read and/or listen to "John Adams," "The First Family," then "Abigail Adams," and then "John Adams" again.

    Enjoy!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TravisD Denver, CO 02-28-13
    TravisD Denver, CO 02-28-13 Member Since 2007

    Travis

    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    126
    39
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well Done All Around"

    Love this book. Well-researched, well-written and very well-read. Abigail was quite a figure of historical significance and very human character. What a life's story. Buy, read, learn.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Reston, Virginia 12-07-10
    Jean Reston, Virginia 12-07-10 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    170
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    176
    45
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    43
    10
    Overall
    "Too much minutiae"

    I just finished the first leg of this book, and while it's clear that the author has done an amazing amount of research, and it shows Abigail Adams as a formidable woman of great talents, I could do without the crazy amount of detail into each small aspect of her role as head of the household in John's absence. The part where she repeatedly asks John to send her pins so that she can sell them at a profit is too lengthy, and frankly, not that interesting. While it's important to record the ways in which she found creative means to increase the family income, the section on her investment decisions gets tedious after a while. An editor should have pared it. I agree with the reviewer who said going for the abridged version would be smart.

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diego Madrid, Spain 03-02-10
    Diego Madrid, Spain 03-02-10 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    122
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "Wait for the abridged version"

    The book has many good sides and it is based in a superb research and a virtuous use of the avalaible records to undo and redo what we thought we knew about A. Adams.
    In this case, just to evoke the voice of the writer, I would have preferred a male narrator.
    In addition, sometimes the pace of the book is too slow and a great lot of quotes repeat ideas the narrator had already proposed. I would encourage an abridged audio edition.

    4 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-8 of 8 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

CANCEL

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.