I love all the letters that McCullough quotes, especially all the ones between Abigail and John, those between Abigail and Jefferson, and then those between Jefferson and Adams. The ones between Abigail and Jefferson were especially interesting. Abigail chastised Jefferson severely for his bribery. She did not mince words. I am wondering if she was the only person in his time who was willing to call him to the carpet for his sin. Abigail is definitely one of my feminine heroes!
This book has so many gems. I liked that the author brought up Adams belief in God and Jesus. He says that Adams did not believe in the perfectibility of man apart from divine authority. I liked that he showed the personal side of Adams with his intense interest in Abigail and his children. Here are all the important things that John did which I learned from this book:
-he organized the Committees of Correspondence, among the colonies. This helped to coordinate the colonies efforts to fight against the British when they felt their
freedoms were being abrogated by the taxes.
-he defended the British soldiers who were accused in the Boston Massacre. This allowed him to demonstrate his integrity, no matter what side he was on.
-he and Richard Henry Lee were the two members of the Continental Congress in 1776 most dedicated to the idea of independence from Great Britain. He had the vision of it and
was the one who argued most passionately for it. RHL proposed it
formally, but Adams argued the most for it.
-he was the one who nominated George Washington to be the commander of the army.
-he kept the nation out of war with France because he knew it was better to make peace. If war had happened, McCullough says that our fragile young nation likely would
have had disaster. I am wondering if that means destroyed. Also, if
it hadn't been for this, it's likely that France would not have sold
the land to Jefferson for the Louisiana Purchase.
-he greatly influenced the writing of the Constitution, not because he was there at the convention, but because he had written a book explaining the importance of mixed
government. This influenced the Massachusetts constitution as well as
the U.S. Constitution. He knew a mixed government was important in
order to have checks and balances.
-he was one of the few, maybe the only one of the Founders, who could see that the French Revolution would lead to disaster. Jefferson admired it. Adams could see that it would
show that a mob unchecked is just as bad, if not more bad, than a
The ripening apples and getting the last of the harvest in October reminds me of how much I love the seasons of the earth. I love reading books like this one that focus on how the seasons turn the year. This book follows a family on a farm and all the communal activities surrounding an agrarian life, both chores and fun times. It makes me want to go live on a farm. I have seen the works of the illustrator, Mary Azarian, in some of my other favorite picture books, like Snowflake Bentley, and love her wood cut pictures. I give it five stars! I don't think I'll read it to the 12 year old, then he will pester me about skiing off the roof!