Adams vs. Jefferson

  • by John Ferling
  • Narrated by Jack Garrett
  • 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author John Ferling is a leading authority on the American Revolution. His entertaining and enlightening histories have greatly improved our understanding of early America and the Founding Fathers. Now Ferling opens a window to the past and explores the contentious presidential election of 1800.Once close friends, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson became bitter rivals as they fought for control of the young government. In a no-holds-barred brawl, both camps used any and all methods to sway voters. There was mudslinging, name-calling, and backstabbing. After a stalemate in the Electoral College, balloting went on for days and nights. Friendships were crushed, promises were broken, civil war was threatened. In the end, a shady deal gave Jefferson the presidency, and America would never be the same.
Considering the turmoil of the modern era, Adams vs. Jefferson is a timely book through which we can better understand the antagonistic atmosphere of contemporary politics.
The “Pivotal Moments in American History” series seeks to unite the old and the new history, combining the insights and techniques of recent historiography with the power of traditional narrative. Each title has a strong narrative arc with drama, irony, suspense, and – most importantly – great characters who embody the human dimension of historical events. The general editors of “Pivotal Moments” are not just historians; they are popular writers themselves, and, in two cases, Pulitzer Prize winners: David Hackett Fischer, James M. McPherson, and David Greenberg. We hope you like your American History served up with verve, wit, and an eye for the telling detail!

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What the Critics Say

"Ferling richly presents the twists and turns of the election, as well as a vivid portrait of a struggling new nation and the bruising political battles of our now revered founding fathers." (Publishers Weekly)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Outstanding work of interpretive history

This work, purportedly about the election of 1800, actually spends less than 1/4 of its length on the election & the various machinations associated with same. That is a good thing. Rather, it reviews, superficially yet very powerfully, the forces that in the years after 1776 brought forth the Federalists, anti-Federalists & Jeffersonian Republicans, as well as the sideward glance at the first glimmerings of a "political machine" in the hands of Aaron Burr. It is this interpretation of the 2 decades running up to the election that makes the election crystal-clear. This book also has outstanding narration. Someone who speaks with emphasis & doesn't have to be suffered through. The only weakness of the book, frankly, is the short section that follows the events of the elections, which treads on very well worn ground (Burr's post 1800 shenanigans, Hamilton, Jefferson/Adams correspondence) & does not add anything substantial to the record here. A very small complaint. It still deserves 5 stars in by book.
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- D. Littman

A little too Jeffersonian

Interesting and informative, but passed over Jefferson's faults too easily. Ferling concludes that the election of 1800 was about liberty (Jefferson and the Republicans) vs. oligarchy (Adams, Hamilton and the Federalists). This is a little simplistic in my view--there was certainly a more moderate strain of Federalism, represented by Adams, which was not the usurper of 1776 liberty represented by Jefferson. I think Ferling comes to a lazy black and white conclusion. But I enjoyed the book.
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- Aaron Olsen

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-06-2004
  • Publisher: Recorded Books