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, Military History, American Revolution, Presidents

Reviews Friends Divided

  • David Eppenstein
    I have a reverential devotion to the history of our founding and to the people involved in that undertaking. The more I read and learn about that era and about those engaged in that endeavor the more I am struck by their humanness and thus am further impressed with how difficult and dangerous our founding really was. While it is easy to revere Washington I have found the characters of Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton to be more interesting and iden...
  • Jean
    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...
  • Priscilla
    I haven't been much of a fan of Jefferson's since I started reading books about him. Adams, on the otherhand, had the opposite affect on me. I chalked up Jefferson worship to the shallowness of humans and the ease with which good-looking people navigate life, no matter what their other failings are. Jefferson was tall, blue-eyed, and incredibly handsome. He had a politeness of manner that verged on obsession. He famously hated controversy, confro...
  • 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...
  • Michelle
    John Adams' (and Abigail) and Thomas Jefferson's friendship was the best thing (in my opinion) to come out of the Revolutionary period. It just amazing how two completely different people were able to form such a strong bond, only to be torn apart by politics.The text, while generally in chronological order, was more by topics and how their views differed or where they agreed. It was well researched and the audio book well narrated. I look forwar...
  • Erin
    This book provides both a side by comparison of Adams and Jefferson's views on a wide range of topics as well as an examination of their friendship, which is interesting in and of itself. However, while Wood has in no way provided any commentary on the politics of today, it seemed written with an eye towards some of the current challenges to democracy underway. I think it could have been a bit more succinct, as Wood frequently tells you what some...
  • Mike
    This is a well written and enjoyable book. It provides a very personal portrait of these two giants of early America. Both men were brilliant and deeply flawed. (ie. human) This book helped to round out my understanding of John Adams, as it is a very different take on him that I found in John Adams by David McCullough.
  • Kathleen Schilling
    The book dragged a bit, but I found it gave me some insight on both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. His opinions on both Adams and Jefferson at times came through the book and made me question some of his opinions, but interesting nonetheless
  • Steve
    This book helps to humanize these two major American Revolution players, as well as add perspective when anyone tries to appropriate their views to what's happening today. Well researched and written, a joy to read and ponder.
  • 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...
  • Scott Martin
    I would probably rate this more towards 3.5, but I don't think it quite rated higher than that. This comparative biography looks at the interactions between our 2nd and 3rd presidents. Their political fates were intertwined long before Jefferson served as Adams Vice President, and their interactions did not stop when Jefferson defeated Adams to become his successor. Wood takes the reader through a cursory review of the early life of both men, one...
  • Ted Hunt
    This is a very useful book to read if one is interested in the philosophical underpinnings of the American Revolution. Jefferson and Adams were two members of the "committee" that worked to produce the Declaration of Independence, although it is clear that the two men had some rather significant differences about what the revolution meant and what the proper nature of the American government should be. The book is not really about their personal,...
  • 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...
  • Bill Lucey
    Brown University historian Gordon S. Wood, in “Friends Divided” does a superb job of pitting the ideas, principles, and different versions of their ideal governments against one another in order to explain to the reader, why Thomas Jefferson might be more remembered today than John Adams.Why shouldn’t these two Founding Fathers be equally remembered and the phrases from their vast trove of writings and books be equally invoked by Americans ...
  • 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...
  • Rick Boyer
    Excellent book describing the friendship, estrangement, and later restored friendship of the nation's second and third Presidents, who were both central Founders of America. Beyond simply describing the relationship between the two men, Wood also masterfully charts the different political theories of Jefferson (republicanism, people are good and can govern themselves, human decency will triumph over human depravity), and Adams (federalism, people...
  • Steve
    This was my first experience reading a “dual biography” and I really liked the format. More importantly, it is an excellent historical accounting of, arguably, two of the most important founding fathers. The comparing-and-contrasting of these two very different men helps the reader understand the differences between the South and North after the revolutionary war and their opposing views on the role of the Federal government in the confederat...
  • E
    A fascinating look at these two men, mostly through their correspondence. Gordon Wood is as good as it gets when it comes to writing on the Founding Fathers. This work was originally supposed to be about Adams only, so he receives a bit more attention than Jefferson, which is certainly fine with me.Wood is not afraid to get into the weeds of these two men's political philosophy. However, instead of focusing so much on the Enlightenment thinkers t...
  • Brian Hutzell
    I am a big fan of The Oxford History of the United States, and one of my favorite books in that series is Gordon S. Wood’s Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815. Now, in Friends Divided, Wood has given us a comparative history of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Although their famous correspondence is discussed, it is not the focal point of this book. Instead Wood focuses on their respective roles in the American Revolut...
  • Gregory
    I thoroughly enjoyed Gordon S. Wood's Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (2017). It is essentially a co-biography focusing on their relationship. Their human-ness comes through nicely, their pettiness, insecurities, ambitions, self-deception, etc. Jefferson loved the French Revolution no matter what, hated the the idea of industrializing, and overall was naive. Adams was too pro-monarchy and prone to self-pity for how he was not app...
  • 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...