February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud (CD)

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Book cover: Jefferson & Adams fightingWorst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud. By Suzanne Jurmain. cassette or CD. 30 min. Recorded Books. 2012. cassette: ISBN 978-1-4640-4043-6, CD: ISBN 978-4640-4042-9.  $15.75.
Gr 2-4–Suzanne Tripp Jurmain makes early American history more accessible and our founding fathers more human for young students in her book (Dutton, 2011) about the friendship and feud between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. She profiles both the differences between these two men as well as the bond that grew between them as they worked together to forge a new nation. Problems arose over the question of balance of power: Adams believed that the president should be given more power, while Jefferson feared that a president who was too powerful might damage the new government. Their dispute was exacerbated when Adams was elected president, with Jefferson as his vice president, and their opposing political parties escalated the feud to the point of violence. When Jefferson defeated Adams for the presidency in the next election, it seemed that their friendship would be doomed. The book ends on a positive note, however, as the two did reconnect through a long string of correspondences, and they seemed to be fatefully united, as they died on the same day, within hours of each other. Richard Poe expressively reads this engaging, heartwarming tale with clarity and humor. By humanizing these two friends, rivals, and leaders, students will be better able to understand this segment of American history and the intricacies of our early government.–MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools, Binghamton, NY