Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reflections: Samuel Adams: A Life

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on Ira Stoll's Samuel Adams: A Life:

"I recently went to the dermatologist with Samuel Adams: A Life under my arm.  As the dermatologist came into the room she mentioned the book by saying: 'Reading about beer, eh?'  She chuckled and then said: 'I've been meaning to brush up on my U.S. presidents.'  Of course, she may have known that Samuel Adams, the revolutionary patriot and devoted Christian, was never a president of the United States.  I have a feeling she had no idea.  Such an experience exemplifies how little most people know not only about U.S. history but about Samuel Adams especially. 

Although I knew he was never a U.S. president, I wasn't terribly familiar with his life, aside from the fact he was John Adams's cousin.  Ira Stoll attempts to explicate at the end of his book why Samuel Adams, of all of the revolutionary leaders, have been somewhat forgotten by history.  One reason, according to Stoll, is because Samuel Adams left a relatively small paper trail, especially when compared to others like John Adams or George Washington.  What he did leave behind, however, is exceptionally enlightening. 

The most interesting aspect of Samuel Adams's life in terms of what it reveals about American history is his incredible devotion to God, religion, and the moral teachings that spring therefrom.  To review his life and the motivations that drove him to be the apostle of liberty that he was is to reveal the spiritual foundation of America.  His radical love, for such it was at the time (and even more so now), for liberty was springing from a belief in a loving God who desired freedom for all of his children.  Any who posit that the United States is not a christian nation or is not founded upon Biblical principles should read this book.  Although they may still maintain their opinions, they can at the very least understand where such conclusions are derived from.

I was unsure of Ira Stoll's Samuel Adams: A Life the first 50 pages or so.  The book certainly has some issues.  But I came to very much enjoy it because of what I learned from it.  Samuel Adams is, like all of the revolutionary brothers, a personality worth getting to know.  My life benefited from it."

No comments:

Post a Comment