Portia: The World of Abigail Adams
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She has given us a fresh examination of Abigail Adams which will stimulate in helpful ways additional research and discussion' - Robert Middlekauf. 'In this important and fascinating biography, Edith Gelles not only restores Abigail Adams to her rightful place at the center of her own story, she challenges the creaky conventions of - traditional - male-defined biography. "Portia" breaks ranks with the biographers twice by refusing to treat Abigail Adams as a reflection of her husband and by refusing to force her life's story into an artificially linear narrative. In this masterful work, Edith Gelles reconceptualizes and revolutionizes the very notion of biography by capturing experience as it truly unfolds in so many women's lives - as a 'collage' of overlapping and circular impressions and feelings, rather than a relentless climb up a ladder of public ambition' - Susan Faludi. 'The best biography of Abigail Adams in print. By keeping the spotlight on Mrs. Adams and sensitively evaluating her in eighteenth-century terms, Edith Gelles provides the most rounded portrait yet of this important woman' - Patricia U. Bonomi. "Edith B.
Gelles uses the revolutionary years as the backdrop of this sensitive study, and the political events as the drama in which the players act out well-defined roles...[Gelles'] story of relationships, networks, and power in the context of Abigail's eighteenth-century world is truly a superb accomplishment' - "American Historical Review." 'Adams' strength, courage, and wit ...emerge more fully than they have in any previous work...[Gelles] has succeeded in providing a well-rounded portrait of a remarkable figure' - "Choice." '"Portia" ...is a refreshing change of pace...[Edith Gelles] is affectionate yet scholarly, determined to present Adams as a strong character who was very much a woman of her time, not merely a liberated precursor to feminism or the little wife behind the great man" - "San Francisco Chronicle." "Portia," the first woman-centered biography of Abigail Adams, details the issues, events, and relationships that informed Adams' life. "The portrait" that emerges also describes women like her during the Revolutionary era. Much of Abigail Adams' independent reputation derives from the letters that she wrote for over a half-century.
Personal and eloquent, they provide unusual access to her private life and capture the social conventions, politics, and people of her age. The letters describe her domestic sphere relationships with her sisters, her daughter and sons, and friends such as Thomas Jefferson. Her marriage to John Adams is considered in the context of the patria.
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