I want to thank Netgalley and the author for gifting me the ebook. I have been wanting to study and learn more about these historical figures. I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.
I wrote about this on the Storygraph, on Goodreads (with a link sent to Twitter), and posted on Mastodon. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5127018423 Thoughts include discussion of the audiobook
The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams
By Stacy Schiff
Samuel Adams is considered one of the Founding Fathers of our country. This book takes a clear, in-depth look at what those "Founding Fathers" were really like: giants of democracy, champions of liberty, great leaders who ushered in the Revolution that separated America from Great Britain – but, in fact, just men. Men whose ideas shaped a new nation, but men who also resorted to lies and exaggerations, calumnies and obfuscations when it served their purposes in order to achieve their goals.
We have, at a remove of almost two and a half centuries, tended to put the Founding Fathers on a pedestal from which we see only their lofty words and deeds, and conveniently overlook some of the means they employed to get to the outcome they desired. Samuel Adams, a canny orator and a gifted writer, used many pseudonyms in order to influence the minds of the Massachusetts colonists – but also to avoid being charged with treason. He was a shrewd planner and plotter. While he worked behind the scenes to orchestrate many of the actions leading up to and through the war, he managed to fade into the background when it came to being held responsible by the Crown.
I very much enjoyed this book. The author's research and clear-eyed perspective give the reader a picture of politics which in some ways is similar to what we see today. I would highly recommend this book to anyone needing a refresher course in how our freedom was won and who the men and women really were who won it.
Pulitzer Prize Winner Stacy Schiff introduces new information on the Revolutionary firebrand Samuel Adams. Schiff fleshes out Adams as a real person not just as a revolutionary but also as a politician and some would say anti-revolutionary when he helped put down "Shays Rebellion."
Samuel Adams was the revolutionary the Founding Fathers all admired and whose approval they all sought. Yet as Stacy Schiff describes in THE REVOLUTIONARY: SAMUEL ADAMS he kept secrets so well that his name is best associated now with a beer. The first half of his life was barely average; he came into his own when confronted with his perceived loss of liberty. He was eloquent and persuasive although much of what he shared with his peers is lost. This is a fascinating account of a man often confused with his cousin, John. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
As soon as I heard about this book, I was excited to read it. I loved Schiff's retelling of the Salem Witch Trials so I was looking forward to hearing her take on Samuel Adams. It was a fascinating read into the life of one of the more important founders, even if these days we only think of beer when we hear his name. I loved reading about how he struggled but managed to keep going in the light of overwhelming challenges. He is truly an inspiration to all Americans.
For people interested in learning about more behind the beginning of the American Revolution, “The Revolutionary Samuel Adams” is a must read. Well written and engaging, author Stacy Schiff gives the reader the build up to the Revolution through the eyes of the man who most likely helped to build it up:Samuel Adams. She examines the methods he used to unite Massachusetts and the colonies, and to protest acts of Parliament. Schiff is also honest with the reader, letting us know that Adams destroyed most of his papers and the knowledge we have of Adams and his behind the scenes actions comes largely from his enemies, making it possible (even probable) that we still don’t know much of his life and actions. Unlike his cousin John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or many other Founding Fathers, Samuel Adams did not write about his life and none of his contemporaries did either.
A Founding Father still given little of the credit that he deserves, this is an excellent biography and a must read for American history lovers.
I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
My thanks to both NetGalley and the publisher Little, Brown and Company for an advanced copy of this biography on of the leaders and prime instigators of the American Revolutionary War.
I remember my American Studies class where we spent time learning about the Revolutionary War, in a little more detail than we had in earlier grades. Maybe we spent an extra week covering, my school was not known for its love of history, probably why I loved history so much later in college. I remember most being confused by John Adams and Sam Adams, as he was always called. Where they the same men, where they brothers. I think my teacher also confused them as later did the French. When John Adams went to France, the people yelled Samuel Adams with big huzzahs, for the American firebrand and the voice of liberty. Later I learned more about him, but still never understood much about the man, nor his importance. Stacy Schiff has rectified this in Schiff's book The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, a wonderful fresh biography on a man that much of history as let pass by.
The book begins with the English on the move, and Paul Revere riding ahead to warn of their very early morning advancing. There plan was not only guns and powder, but to arrest that traitorous rascal Samuel Adams, who had been doing his best to get the people not just of the Boston are but all the colonies to pursue a life of freedom and liberty. Adams of course escaped this latest attempt, but it would not be the last. The book goes back to introduce the young rebel, his growing up, going to Harvard at a young age, graduated with a masters, but not really an occupation or any real idea of what to do. Failures follow, until the flame of liberty starts to glow, and Adams finds what he is good at. Starting trouble. And making enemies, among the British, and among the founding fathers. Schiff also details why a lot is not known about Adams, his fear of getting others in trouble for his actions led him to use many pen names, or burn his papers constantly. Plus his enemies also used their power and wealth to downplay his achievements.
A wonderful book about a man who really tried to uphold the values of the revolution. One of the few men who actually lost money as the war went on, spending a lot of his latter life dependent on others to keep him afloat. The book is very well written, with many stories about the man, most new to me, and others around him. Schiff sets the scene of Boston as a powder keg, only needing a spark to go up. Schiff describes the times, the politics, and the efforts of many to stop a war that seemed inevitable. Schiff is also honest about the man, being honest about his many faults and mistakes, while taking nothing away, or using the things he accomplished to take away the bad. This is an honest tale, made harder by the subjects own destruction of his records and writing, something another writer said that Adams should probably have his own statue in the headquarters of the CIA. Adams practiced spy tradecraft without really thinking about it.
A book that is sure to be the one that future scholars will cite. A story about a man who really was the guy in the bar that loved to start fights, "Did you hear what he said" style. Adams was a man who tried to be what he felt in his heart free and full of liberty and he did his best to make that dream real. Recommended for history and biography fans, and this will make the perfect gift for a lot of people.
The Revolutionary:Samuel Adams is the perfect example of a five out of five story.
Stacy Schiff introduces and allows readers to get to know the man behind many of the Revolution’s key events and places him back into key events that he seems to be erased from. Throughout this book Schiff brings to life the Founding Father and it feels like you are reading a novel at times because of Adam’s life being so epic!
This is a phenomenally researched book and as a History teacher, it makes me happy to see a key historical figure be fleshed out past some stories and a beer brand.
Schiff, author of the fantastic The Witches: Salem, 1692, brings another fantastic historical story that needs to be read by everyone!!
In her new book, Stacy Schiff recreates the life of one of the "authors" of American Revolution, "the patron saint of late bloomers,” Samuel Adams. Three things make this book an especially interesting read: Schiff draws Adams' portrait through the words of others since he didn't leave diaries or memoirs; analysis of his life is particularly relevant now, and as always, Stacy Schiff's writing skills are superb.. New readers and fans of her work wouldn't be disappointed as she offers much food for thought to readers interested in contemporary politics and American history.
THE REVOLUTIONARY: SAMUEL ADAMS
BY: STACY SCHIFF
I don't generally like politics, but this biography of Samuel Adams intrigued me, because it was written by the icon of mine, Stacy Schiff. In what could have been a dry biography was the exact opposite. Stacy Schiff brings Samuel Adams alive on the page. It was a most illuminating reading experience for me to read about one of the most influential Founding Fathers' whom I didn't know much about. Reading this I realized how Samuel Adams has been portrayed differently in other biographies. He is one of the most important figures that always kept his message to everyone that liberty and freedom are essential to living a life. His presence was everywhere and nowhere, and his writing that circulated is sadly lost. John Adams witnessed Samuel burning his papers. This was fascinating and I was never bored, but fully invested in learning the pivotal role Samuel Adams played during the American Revolution.
He graduated from Harvard with a masters degree. Yet, he was the only Founding Father to not have a vocation. He was poor and material things and money meant nothing to him. He wrote for his newspaper, but wrote under pseudonyms of which were vast and many. The painting that depicts the members who signed the Declaration of Independence fully leaves out Samuel, and includes a couple of people who didn't sign it. It presently hangs on one of the walls of the Capitol, located in Washington D.C. I didn't know of the rift that happened between Samuel Adams and John Hancock.
King George III tried to enforce the Massachusetts colony with a Stamp Act, which Sam Adams vehemently opposed. I never knew that Paul Revere's famous ride was to warn Samuel Adams who was wanted for treason and hiding out in Lexington.
I loved the section that vividly describes the Boston Tea Party in greater detail than I had ever read before. The East India Company that delivered the chests of tea was dumped in the Boston Harbor while thousands of people sat nearby in the South End. Nobody could prove who was responsible. It seemed to have been carried out quietly, unlike the chaos I always imagined in my mind.
Samuel Adams was responsible for meeting with other States and educating the other colonists about the Kings edict to shut down the Boston Harbor. This made it more costly to transport things like wood and other necessities.
If you decide to read this you will discover how integral a part Samuel Adams played in gathering all of the other colonies to back Massachusetts in their fight to return things to the way they were. It is for me a definitive account of Samuel Adams efforts to unite the other colonies to fight Great Britain for its role in trying to capture someone who often advocated for non violence. You will gain a deeper understanding into what history has all but forgotten who the greatest revolutionary Founding Father was. You will read about the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the role Samuel Adams played in a refreshing narrative made interesting.
I recommend Stacy Schiff's outstanding narrative of how we became a democracy. I have read her talented biographies of both, "Cleopatra," and "Vera," (the author of "Lolita's" wife). I LOVED ALL THREE OF THESE BIOGRAPHIES EQUALLY! Stacy Schiff did a fantastic job on those two, and now this, of humanizing her subjects.
Publication Date: October 25, 2022
Thank you to Net Galley, Stacy Schiff and Little, Brown and Company for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
#TheRevolutionarySamuelAdams #StacySchiff #LittleBrownandCompany #NetGalley
This was a great insight into Sam Adams, the good, bad, and the ugly. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the founding fathers and creating of the USA. I appreciated Schiff's writing and honest approach to Adams' life story.
As someone who loves her Am-Rev books, it's such a pleasure to finally get a great biography of so important and little understood a figure.
He's more than just a beer! Stacy Schiff resurrects the actual Samuel Adams from the scrap heap by writing a biography that will surprise most people because they don't even know "Sam Adams" beer is actually based on a real life person.
Schiff focuses on Adams' life leading up to the American Revolution. What I appreciated most about Schiff's book is her willingness to clearly point out the good and the bad throughout the book. Samuel Adams was not a selfless hero who flew above the fray. He was the fray. He caused the fray. He then reported on the fray and told everyone it was someone else's fault the fray even happened. Adams was a hero and a villain depending on which side you chose. Schiff never denies either side of him and it makes for a great read because you feel like you are reading an impartial documentary as opposed to a fawning treatment.
There is plenty to cover here. The revolutionary fathers did not always get along and for good reason. The egos were big and the stakes kept getting bigger. Schiff's book keeps laser focused on Adams and keeps the scope intimate. A great read and a must for any Revolutionary War nerd.
(This book was provided to me as an advance read copy by Netgalley and Little, Brown and Company. The full review will be posted to HistoryNerdsUnited.com on 10/25/2022.)
Stacy Schiff is a national treasure. In rich, vivid prose which reads like a fascinating novel, she crafts a superbly researched and fascinating biography which belongs on the shelf alongside David McCullough and Joseph Ellis's classic works on the Revolutionary period. Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Little Brown and to Netgalley for the opportunity and pleasure of an early read.
Samuel Adams was so entwined in the events leading up,to the American Revolution, that reading his biography is like reading an historical account of those events. Author Stacy Schiff ably brings this history to life in this fascinating volume that richly details the life of the man many believe was the linchpin to the Revolution. Never dull, The Revolutionary Samuel Adams is a well documented and scholarly read, one that is never boring. The sections that deal with the Boston Tea Party and Lexington and Concord (that latter episode opens the book) are very detailed and interesting. Kudos to the author for bringing the man to life.
My thanks to the publisher and to Netgalley for providing an ARC of this book.