Samuel Adams: A Life

Ira Stoll, Author
Ira Stoll, Author . Free Press $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7432-9911-4
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Thomas Jefferson once declared, “For depth of purpose, zeal, and sagacity, no man in Congress exceeded, if any equaled, Sam Adams.” Yet the American revolutionary from Massachusetts (1722–1803, cousin of John Adams) has become the forgotten founding father, and Stoll attempts to pull Adams out of this oblivion. Rebellious Americans' passionate vision of themselves as an incarnation of the Israelites freeing themselves from Egyptian slavery was invoked by Adams, one of the most religious American revolutionaries. He called on Americans to fulfill their God-given freedom and was a radical who endured physical danger, poverty and the death at 37 of his only son. But for Stoll, a managing editor of the New York Sun with a long career in newspapers, Adams was also the consummate newspaperman, a pundit dispersing the ideals of freedom. Occasionally apt to settle into litanies of Adams's various tasks and redundant statements on the divine right of American independence, Stoll also sporadically recounts evocative details of the period, such as the lyrics from revolutionary songs. This account might sustain a renewed interest in Adams as the founder of a distinctly American spirit. (Nov.)

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