Acquisitions 11/23/09

Abigail Adams CoverI try to keep this running list of new titles confined to this blog’s subject matter.  Professor Holton was one of my professors while in graduate school at the University of Richmond.  I worked with him on an independent study and got a chance to read a section of his Adams biography in manuscript form.  Since then I’ve eagerly awaited its final publication. My relationship with Abigail Adams is very complex.  I’ve always found her history to be intriguing; however, since the HBO series I’ve had a major crush on Laura Linney, though I can’t tell how much of it is directed at Linney as opposed to Adams.  Luckily, I have a very understanding wife who is helping me to work through all of this.  If you thought you knew everything there is to know about Abigail Adams you will want to read this book.

Woody Holton, Abigail Adams (Free Press, 2009).

Michael Perman, Pursuit of Unity: A Political History of the American South (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

Kirk Savage, Monument Wars: Washington, D.C., The National Mall, and the Transformation of the Memorial Landscape (University of California Press, 2009).

William L. Shea, Fields of Blood: The Prairie Grove Campaign (University of North Carolina Press, 2009).

5 comments… add one
  • Sherree Nov 23, 2009

    LOL, Kevin. If this happened to be a game of baseball; the above post would be a softball thrown to your female readers. But, hey, thanks for remembering the ladies!

    (Hi Michaela! Enjoyed your rational comments in the “miracle” thread.)

    Some familiar quotes by Abagail:

    “Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors.

    • Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.

    • If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.

    • It is really mortifying, sir, when a woman possessed of a common share of understanding considers the difference of education between the male and female sex, even in those families where education is attended to… Nay why should your sex wish for such a disparity in those whom they one day intend for companions and associates. Pardon me, sir, if I cannot help sometimes suspecting that this neglect arises in some measure from an ungenerous jealousy of rivals near the throne.

    • Great necessities call out great virtues.

    • Men of sense in all ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your sex.

    • The only chance for much intellectual improvement in the female sex, was to be found in the families of the educated class and in occasional intercourse with the learned. (1817)

    • I regret the trifling narrow contracted education of the females of my own country.

    • These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed.

    • I am more and more convinced that Man is a dangerous creature, and that power whether vested in many or a few is ever grasping, and like the grave cries give, give. The great fish swallow up the small, and he who is most strenuous for the Rights of the people, when vested with power, is as eager after the prerogatives of Government. You tell me of degrees of perfection to which Humane Nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances. (letter, 1775) “

    • Kevin Levin Nov 23, 2009

      Those are definitely some of the more popular A.Adams quotes, but what Holton does it look beyond her politics. It turns out that she was in charge of the family finances and even made significant investments herself. Finally, she wrote a Will which was uncommon owing to coveture laws. You may want to check it out.

      • Sherree Nov 23, 2009

        Thanks, Kevin. I will! Thanks again for the post.

      • Sherree Nov 23, 2009

        Also, Kevin, I will qualify what I have said. The post and A Adams will appeal to some women, but not all. There are, in addition, many men who admire A Adams, including you. It is just refreshing to conclude a discussion about the founding of the nation with thoughts by A Adams.

  • Sherree Nov 23, 2009

    Thanks, Kevin. I will. Thanks again for the post.

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