ONE OF WALL STREET JOURNAL'S 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—A revelatory biography from a Pulitzer Prize-winner about the most essential Founding Father— the one who stood behind the change in thinking that produced the American Revolution.
"A glorious book that is as entertaining as it is vitally important.” —Ron Chernow
"A beautifully crafted, invaluable biography…Schiff ingeniously connects the past to our present and future, underscoring the lessons of Adams while reclaiming our nation’s self-evident truths at a moment when we seemed to have forgotten them." —Oprah Daily
Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, “Samuel Adams was the man.” With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.
Stacy Schiff returns Adams to his seat of glory, introducing us to the shrewd and eloquent man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution. A singular figure at a singular moment, Adams amplified the Boston Massacre. He helped to mastermind the Boston Tea Party. He employed every tool available to rally a town, a colony, and eventually a band of colonies behind him, creating the cause that created a country. For his efforts he became the most wanted man in America: When Paul Revere rode to Lexington in 1775, it was to warn Samuel Adams that he was about to be arrested for treason.
In The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams, Schiff brings her masterful skills to Adams’s improbable life, illuminating his transformation from aimless son of a well-off family to tireless, beguiling radical who mobilized the colonies. Arresting, original, and deliriously dramatic, this is a long-overdue chapter in the history of our nation.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Pulitzer-winning biographer Stacy Schiff pulls us into the amazing story of the unsung hero of the American Revolution. Samuel Adams, the poor son of a wealthy family, was a failed businessman and unsuccessful tax collector. But he found his niche in 1760s Boston as a passionate, outspoken advocate of liberty—and one of the first people to publicly call for American independence. A powerful writer whose essays fanned the flames for freedom in the 13 colonies, Adams’ tireless work as a strategist and rabble-rouser made him one of the most vital figures in the fight against British rule. Schiff puts a new perspective on the period, digging deep into the messy, nuts-and-bolts work of revolution. The Revolutionary is more than a fascinating biography—it’s a vital look at the history of American political activism.
Pulitzer winner Schiff (The Witches) delivers a revelatory and frequently riveting account of the life of founding father Samuel Adams (1722–1803). Portraying Adams as both a pious Puritan and a man of action, who "muscled words into deeds" in the cause of American independence, and whose destruction of most of his personal papers opened the door for adversaries to characterize him as a propagandist who provoked mob violence, Schiff begins the narrative with a dramatic description of the opening stages of the Revolutionary War, revealing that the main objective of Paul Revere's ride was to warn Adams that the British were coming. From there, Schiff retraces Adams's early years in Boston, his entry into Harvard at age 14, and the "financial catastrophe" that rocked the family when the British parliament dissolved a Massachusetts land bank cofounded by his father. "Vigilance in civic life," writes Schiff, "had been inculcated in at an early age." By the late 1740s, he was writing political pieces for local newspapers and soon became a leading opponent of new tariffs and regulations on the colonies. Throughout, Schiff vividly recounts major events in the lead-up to the Revolutionary War, including the Stamp Act Crisis, the Boston Massacre, and the Boston Tea Party, and draws incisive sketches of Loyalist governor Thomas Hutchinson, Patriot lawyer James Otis, and others. Fast-paced and enlightening, this is a must-read for colonial history buffs. Agent: Eric Simonoff, WME.