Friends Divided
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.

Friends Divided Details

TitleFriends Divided
Author
ReleaseOct 24th, 2017
PublisherPenguin Press
ISBN-139780735224711
Rating
GenreHistory, Biography, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History, Politics, Presidents, Biography Memoir

Friends Divided Review

  • Jill Meyer
    January 1, 1970
    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 away in Boston. Both men had been presidents of the United States, and since the country was not in the instant communication we have today, neither man knew of the other's impending death. In his superb new history, "Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson", Gordon Wood takes a detailed loo 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 away in Boston. Both men had been presidents of the United States, and since the country was not in the instant communication we have today, neither man knew of the other's impending death. In his superb new history, "Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson", Gordon Wood takes a detailed look at the lives and how each man's strengths and weaknesses influenced our new country.John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were, in many ways, polar opposites in both personality and upbringing. One was a slave-owning Southerner and the other was a Northerner, who deplored the idea of one man owning another. One had a charming, if somewhat melancholy demeanor where the other was a no-nonsense kind of man. But both were brilliant and were devoted to the cause of American independence from Great Britain. And after independence, the two were involved in setting up our governing system. Gordon Wood takes a penetrating look at both men and the times they lived in, He's a smooth writer and the book is excellent.
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  • Jillian Doherty
    January 1, 1970
    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 fathers loathed each other - for having opposing personalities and political affiliation, but as they formed the country, they also formed a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.If we could have more driven focus and tolerance today, we might also better understand how looking in the past 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 fathers loathed each other - for having opposing personalities and political affiliation, but as they formed the country, they also formed a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.If we could have more driven focus and tolerance today, we might also better understand how looking in the past as much to teach is the better future.
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  • Matthew Hyde
    January 1, 1970
    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 details and thoughts of both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams during such events as the American Revolution, French Revolution, the Presidencies of both men, and their lives after politics. Wood I felt was fair in keeping a balance of the two men, and did not show favoritism toward one rather than the o 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 details and thoughts of both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams during such events as the American Revolution, French Revolution, the Presidencies of both men, and their lives after politics. Wood I felt was fair in keeping a balance of the two men, and did not show favoritism toward one rather than the other. In fact he shows the weaknesses and strengths both of these men exhibited through their personal and political lives. What one can gather from reading this book is that Adams was at times a little too outspoken, while Jefferson was very patient and was careful how he expressed himself. I liked how Wood used the letters which these two men wrote to each other, friends, and family to show the reader how these men really thought and felt. Wood kept it factually and not opinionated by doing so. For me personally, what I enjoyed about this book the most is the detailed account of America's history. Wood does a very in depth revealing of facts showing the reader how America came to be mostly due to the influence of such men such as Adams and Jefferson. Its hard to grasp at the thought that the roots of America's Civil War, our political parties that Americans still see today, and how an American thinks and acts started at the very early stages of America early years. One last point I would like to make is that the book is very easy to read and Wood keeps the reader attached throughout. Wood's book is a historical book worms dream. Thank you for the good read.
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  • Jim Galford
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent account of the strange association of Adams and Jefferson. Well researched and written.
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