December 31, 2010 Leave a comment
Were I to sum up Joseph J. Ellis’ ‘First Family’ in two words, they would be “nothing new”. Any student of or expert on American history, amateur or otherwise, will have heard the vast majority of this story. The John and Abigail Adams story has already been told, much more thoroughly, by David McCullough.
The introduction of First Family sets the goal of telling major stories of the Revolutionary era through the eyes of the first power couple in American history. The events highlighted in this book are generally the same that would be included in any book covering the same era. The reaction of the Adams family and consequences of the events on the family are, in better detail, described in McCullough’s ‘John Adams’
For any newcomer to the Revolutionary era or the Adams family, this book would be an outstanding introduction. But with other weighty books like McCullough’s out there covering the same topics and family, this book just doesn’t measure up.