Household Gods: The Religious Lives of the Adams Family

Sara Georgini. Oxford Univ., $34.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-19-088258-7
Historian Georgini considers American religious history through three generations of the family of John Adams (1735–1826) in this expansive but jargon-heavy debut. The changing nature of American Protestant belief is skillfully illustrated in Georgini’s close study of the religious evolution of the well-educated, well-traveled Adams family. The first section comprises a mini biography of 17th-century English emigré Henry Adams and his deep Puritanism. In the second section, Georgini looks at the moral activism of John Quincy Adams—particularly his legal advocacy for the slaves involved in the Amistad slave revolt. Finally she considers the scholarly writing of Henry Adams on churches, which she finds to have Buddhist influences. The subject is fascinating, but Georgini’s prose is often overly dense and verbose, and those unfamiliar with the denominational labels of American religious history will struggle. Showcasing Georgini’s copious research, this religious biography of the Adams family will appeal mainly to academics working in 18th- and 19th-century Christianity. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2018
Release date: 02/01/2019
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 376 pages - 978-0-19-088260-0
Ebook - 376 pages - 978-0-19-088259-4
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