A New York Times Bestseller
Best Books of 2022 — New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, The Wall Street Journal, Oprah Daily, TIME, Barnes & Noble, BookPage, GoodReads
A revelatory biography of arguably the most essential Founding Father—the one who stood behind the change in thinking that produced the American Revolution
Thomas Jefferson asserted that if there was any leader of the Revolution, "Samuel Adams was the man." John Adams thought his cousin "the most sagacious politician" of all. With high-minded ideals and bare-knuckle tactics, Adams led what could be called the greatest campaign of civil resistance in American history.
In The Revolutionary, Stacy 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.
Praise for The Revolutionary
"With incomparable wit, grace, and insight, Stacy Schiff narrates the birth of the American Revolution in Boston and the artful, elusive magician who made it all happen: Samuel Adams. For too long, Adams, hiding behind his many masks and stratagems, has evaded historians, but Schiff draws him from the shadows into the spotlight he so richly deserves. A glorious book that is as entertaining as it is vitally important. This is a time for Americans to meditate on the fate of their republic and no better place to start than here, at the beginning, with this book." Ron Chernow
"This enthralling biography is a persuasive exercise in rehabilitation. Through stylish prose and a close reading of Adams's career as a canny propagandist, Schiff suggests that he may have done more than any other founder to prime colonists for armed rebellion and deserves to be better known." New York Times
"A wildly entertaining exploration of the roots of American political theatre. Unreliable rumormongering, slanted news writing, misleading symbolism, even viral meme-sharing – it was all right there at the start." The New Yorker
"Samuel Adams comes to electrifying life through this Pulitzer Prize-winning historian's meticulous research and dynamic storytelling as a man of principle and persuasion. There was also Adams's devotion to stealth and secrecy, which may be why it's taken so long to tease out his unusual story." The Los Angeles Times
"A tour de force...With her exquisite, fast-paced prose...Stacy Schiff has produced a delightfully enthralling and insightful account of an elusive Founding Father. Samuel Adams 'did not preen for posterity,' but we now know him much better than we did. Perhaps even better than he'd want us to." The Wall Street Journal
"This brisk narrative of the outsize role that Adams played in colonial Massachusetts during the 'messy, anarchic provocative' years before the Revolution places the reader at the center of the action, while dramatic events, including the Boston Massacre and Tea party, unfold anew in the light of Adams's involvement. Schiff writes beautifully and lyrical passages provide a great deal of reading pleasure... An enthralling portrait of Samuel Adams, who perhaps more than another of America's founders, set the country on its course toward independence." The New York Times Book Review
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