The best books on John Adams

Many authors have picked their favorite books about John Adams and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Those Rebels, John & Tom

Those Rebels, John & Tom

By Barbara Kerley, Edwin Fotheringham (illustrator),

Why this book?

Here’s another take on America’s relationship with King George III. The story shows the differences between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson but despite their differences, they have a love of country and a hate for King George. They unite their strengths - John’s power of persuasion and Tom’s mighty pen - to formulate the Declaration of Independence. The endnotes are just as fascinating, talking about how their relationship continued - and almost ended. They both died on the same day, on July 4th.

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Book cover of Leave It to Abigail!: The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams

Leave It to Abigail!: The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams

By Barb Rosenstock, Elizabeth Baddeley (illustrator),

Why this book?

I admire women who take it upon themselves to survive through resourcefulness and despite societal norms. Abigail was a girl whose spirit was too big to contain within the rules of colonial America. And because she had gumption and curiosity, she helped advance women by influencing her husband’s political views. The artist used needlework to partially illustrate the book which gives the reader a feel for the times.
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Book cover of The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography

The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography

By Henry Adams,

Why this book?

I didn’t want to read a 1907 autobiography about someone I’d never heard of who uses a humblebrag title to tell me about his life as a genius. But it won the Pulitzer and made Modern Library’s list of top 100 nonfiction books of the 20th century – the hardest century to make the list in – for a reason. To my great shock it’s a fun, well-written page-turner. The son of the last of the dignified founding father presidents, John Quincy Adams (and grandson of John Adams) rails against Jacksonian populism in the time of Grant. You can…

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