Friends Divided by Gordon S. Wood

Friends Divided

From the great historian of the American Revolution, New York Times-bestselling and Pulitzer-winning Gordon Wood, comes a majestic dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course.Thomas Jefferson and John Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. Jefferson, the optimis...

Details Friends Divided

TitleFriends Divided
Release DateOct 24th, 2017
PublisherPenguin Press
GenreHistory, Biography, Nonfiction, North American Hi..., American History, Politics, Biography Memoir

Reviews Friends Divided

  • Jean Poulos
    This is a double biography that recounts the lives of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. It also recounts the creation of the republic. This is primarily a book about ideas as represented by two of the founding fathers. I enjoyed this book immensely. The author has a variety of topics and goes back and forth between the viewpoints of Adams and Jefferson. I learned a lot about both men as well as a good review of the founding of this country.These t...
  • Jill Meyer
    On July 4, 1826, 50 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, two men died. One, Thomas Jefferson, died at Monticello in Virginia, while the other, John Adams, died far away in Boston. Both men had been presidents of the United States, and since the country was not in the instant communication we have today, neither man knew of the other's impending death. In his superb new history, "Friends Divided: John Adams and T...
  • Jillian Doherty
    Like Churchill and Orwell this awesome duel biography highlights not only both men's journeys, but illustrates how they became who they were because of their relationship.Although these founding fathers loathed each other - for having opposing personalities and political affiliation, but as they formed the country, they also formed a deeper understanding and appreciation for each other.If we could have more driven focus and tolerance today, we mi...
  • Robert Melnyk
    This book details the relationship, both personal and political, between two or our most famous founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These two men came from different backgrounds and differing political views, but were close friends during the early days of the American Revolution. However, their differences led to a bitter rivalry and the end of their friendship, epitomized by the election of 1800, perhaps the most nasty and divisi...
  • Polly
    Wood sees the world through the point of view of his two great men. That's good most of the time, but it renders him tone deaf at others. His comment in the first few pages that being a gentleman or commoner was more important in the 18th century than being slave or free haunted me for the remainder of the book. I cannot imagine that a woman held in slavery, raped by her master and then forced to watch her children sold away from her, would agree...
  • Matthew Hyde
    So I fortunate enough to win the historical book Friends Divided in the goodreads giveaway. This book was excellent from front to back. Gordon S. Wood does an amazing job of covering the important details and thoughts of both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams during such events as the American Revolution, French Revolution, the Presidencies of both men, and their lives after politics. Wood I felt was fair in keeping a balance of the two men, and di...
  • Vincent Li
    When I saw this book I groaned, because I realized I would need to add it to the list of Gordon Wood books I wanted to read, when I thought I was making good progress on that list. This book only confirms my admiration for this great historian. Wood is a great writer and a superb historian who manages to open up new perspectives on topics that seem to be exhausted. This book is essentially a dual biography of Jefferson and Adams, organized more a...
  • Heather
    This was really an interesting book, fascinating really! It's an easy-ish read for history and very helpful in understanding the time and legacy of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two very key players in the American Revolution and the history of the United States after that. They were friends most of their life, although there was a period of eleven years (just after Jefferson beat Adams in the election of 1800) where they did not talk at all. ...
  • Sean
    Gordon Wood is the preeminent historian on the American Revolutionary War period and the author of "Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815," which is the official installment in the Oxford History of the United States on this historical period. "Empire" is a good read; but it is 800 pages and, at times, dense. If you want to learn about the Revolutionary period and you don't have the time to read "Empire," then "Friends Div...
  • Kristi Richardson
    This won't be a traditional review but instead what I learned from reading this book that I didn't know before. John Adams was accused of being too pro British because he supported a Constitution based on the British rule. He also considered having Senators be a hereditary position like the House of Lords. His thinking on this was because the rich were likely to have all the power if they could be in both houses. Remember a lot of people were ill...
  • Jeremy
    Wonderful book that has been most enlightening -- and has served to adjust this reader's assessment, at least, of both Adams and Jefferson. -- The opening chapter, in which the author contrasts the backgrounds and character of his subjects is alone worth the price of admission, as it were: Adams, the son of a farmer/shoemaker, firmly New England middle class, aspired to the upper echelons of society, but always nurtured a sense of not belonging t...
  • David Dunlap
    Wonderful book that has been most enlightening -- and has served to adjust this reader's assessment, at least, of both Adams and Jefferson. -- The opening chapter, in which the author contrasts the backgrounds and character of his subjects is alone worth the price of admission, as it were: Adams, the son of a farmer/shoemaker, firmly New England middle class, aspired to the upper echelons of society, but always nurtured a sense of not belonging t...
  • Oleksiy Kononov
    Two Founding Fathers, two presidents, two statesmen, two lawyers and two political thinkers. In his book, the author intended to answer the question how come the second president of the United States is never remembered and appreciated as much as Thomas Jefferson. I believe Gordon S. Wood masterfully managed to answer that question. John Adams was a "working horse" of the American Revolution, a hard-working lawyer and not a very successful diplom...
  • Marvin
    Gordon Wood was already a highly respected historian when I was in grad school 30+ years ago, and I was among his admirers. Here he turns his formidable talents as an intellectual historian to an account of the relationship between John Adams & Thomas Jefferson. Actually, though, it's not so much about their relationship (though that is a part of the account) as an extended (500-page) "compare & contrast" essay on their political theory and pract...
  • Cheryl
    This book provides an interesting perspective into the governing philosophy, temperament, and views on democracy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of our founding fathers. These two men couldn't have been more different in terms of their personalities and early life experiences and these differences greatly influenced their view of the role of government and the “wisdom” of the common man. They were the closest of friends in the early d...
  • Tom Batalias
    Two men, founding fathers, united in the fight for independence, but clearly divided in their politics of how to run the new government. This is the story of two great men, and how they worked together to help win the American Revolution, but became bitter rivals in the world of government and politics. Doesn't that seem to always be the case? Fortunately, this story does not end there. These rivals were able to but aside their differences later ...
  • Brion
    The title of this book tells a lot about the 50 year relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. They met at the beginning of the country around 1776 and had a long relationship lasting until they both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the creation of the nation. I say relationship rather than friendship because they agreed and disagreed on many issues over those years, some leading to many years where they did not communica...
  • Bonnie
    The book gives a good picture of the characters and ideals of two of our most influential Founding Fathers, and those who surrounded them. Jefferson remains an enigma, since he believed fervently in the equality of all men but did nothing to oppose slavery, from which he benefited. Adams thought that equality was disproved by the manifest inequality of human beings. I think Adams failed to understand that equality is not a description of people's...
  • R.A. Filce
    If you have read other books by Wood, you will find much of this repetitive. However, the more he drills down into Adams and Jefferson, the better the book gets. I enjoyed the second half of the book much more, and learned details that I never knew before. The book is also an excellent survey of the foundations and reasons behind the early split between federalist and democratic republicans. Wood is very fair and balanced in presenting the pros a...
  • Steve
    A wonderful and interesting book, This is like a dual biography of men from different worlds. John Adams grew up in a middle class family in Massachusetts. While Thomas Jefferson grew up in a aristrocratic southern family in Virginia that owned slaves. They both had common goals and along with Benjamin Franklin, wrote and signed the Declaration of Independence-declaring America's freedom from British rule. Ironically, on July 4, 1826, on the 50th...
  • Mike
    This dual biography of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson was a comparative look at the intellectual history of both great men. It followed their political lives but the focus was really on their differing opinions on the events and theories of government throughout their lifetimes. Parts of the book dragged a bit, and I would not recommend this to someone looking for a David McCullough type of story, but I did enjoy the deeper look into two brillia...
  • Miriam
    I loved listening to this book, particularly the reading of Jefferson's and Adams' opposing views of how government should work are well described during these earliest days of this republic. There's nothing new in politics!Look for a longer review in AudioFile Magazine
  • Jim Jaqcobs
    Riveting! The unique format-back and forth-to Adams, then Jefferson-provided comparisons, contrast. I learned more about those two presidents than in any other book I have read, almost as if I were sitting with Adams and Jefferson, watching, observing.
  • Dean
    Always like continuing to circle back to visit the founding of our Republic and its fathers. Interesting contrasting character and intellectual study of the differences of Adams and Jefferson. Adams the realist about human nature and government and Jefferson the idealist.
  • Larry Roberts
    Loved this book- full of insights I didn't have before.
  • Richard
    Can't agree with his last sentence: we honor Adams as well as Jefferson. Adams was the better man.
  • SonnyK247
    Gordon S Wood does not disappoint with a rare ability to bring to life such essential figures to the founding of the nation.
  • Jamey Harvey
    This is a great comparison of two great men in our country's history!
  • Jim Galford
    Excellent account of the strange association of Adams and Jefferson. Well researched and written.
  • Ken Luehrsen
    Extremely well written account of the friendship between two great Americans.