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Book review: First Family by Joseph J Ellis

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Abigail and John AdamsThe Adams family is my favorite – Abigail and John Adams. I love how opinionated and confident Abigail is. I love how cranky and brilliant John is. Their son John Quincy is my favorite president.

I just love this family. And I love that the family dynamic plays into the founding of our country. I just find it all so fascinating. First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J Ellis was obviously a must-read for me.

Know before you read

There are far more thorough histories and biographies (John Adams, for example) than this. If you are intensely interested in the history of these two people read other books as well.

Abigail and John Adams

The Adams family was one of the first families in American politics. John was the second president and his son John Quincy was the sixth. After reading this book there can be no doubt that Abigail helped John Adams in a myriad of ways while he helped lead the colonies to independence.

This book is a love story. It’s a look at the intimate relationship between these two involved political thinkers. Lucky for us, John and Abigail spent a lot of their marriage apart – when John was in Europe for years, or Philadelphia for months at a time during the Revolution. Too bad for them. But because of the extensive distance between this couple, readers still have lots of letters, thoughts and correspondence between them that give us so much more information about both parties than we would otherwise have.

As with all of Ellis’s booksFirst Family is a very quick read, easy to jump right into but without a huge amount of detail. I love reading his books in between the giant, research-heavy history books. They give me a great basic overview to position myself in the context of history before learning specifics.

First Family: Abigail and John Adams by Joseph J Ellis is one of the few history books that I actually own, and I will likely re-read it soon.

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