Gordon Wood’s latest Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is out now. It has been reviewed in the Wall Street Journal:

“…as Gordon S. Wood vividly conveys in “Friends Divided,” the two men were stark contrasts in almost every way. Tall and lanky, Jefferson towered over the short and stout Adams. Outwardly serene, gregarious and gracious, Jefferson made friends more easily than did the cranky, excitable and acerbic Adams. Jefferson sought to ingratiate, Adams to provoke. Where Jefferson flattered the American people as the best on earth, Adams warned them to beware of their passions, greed and conceit. Jefferson told them what they longed to hear, while Adams conveyed unpalatable truths. Adams clung to a secularized vision of the original sin that taints all humanity, according to the Calvinist sermons of his youth. Jefferson instead embraced an Enlightenment creed that regarded humanity as potentially perfectible if freed from too much government. Jefferson sought, with remarkable success, to know something about everything, while Adams focused his reading and writing on political theory. [WSJ.com ––paywall-protected]

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