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Book review: 'First Family' by Joseph J. Ellis
Book review: 'First Family' by Joseph J. Ellis

First Family Abigail & John Adams Joseph J. Ellis Alfred A. Knopf: 304 pp., $27.95 John and Abigail Adams are the most well-known, most-written-about couple in America's Revolutionary generation. Why? Because they left such a well-constructed paper trail. The exigencies of John's careers as a revolutionary, diplomat and politician kept the pair apart for long stretches of their 54-year marriage. While that was not so good for them, it was a blessing for historians, as the often-great distance required them to communicate on paper. Their epistolary record forms the basis for our understanding of their marriage and sheds great light upon their personalities. This is fairly...