Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In Samuel Adams: Son of Liberty, Clifford Alderman depicts the life of Massachusetts Bay’s most exalted advocate of colonists’ rights. In fourteen chapters, only the last of which briefly mentions Adams’ activities after American independence, Alderman details Adams’ contributions to this cause. Yet this book is not a model of clarity; lacking both a table of contents and chapter titles, its chronological organization of material is somewhat confusing. There is a bibliography of limited usefulness and an index.

According to Alderman, Adams’ raison d’être from young adulthood was the engendering of American independence. Adams dedicated remarkable energies to his cause, and every event in his life is portrayed within this context.

Adams’ values and life-style were shaped by the religious enthusiasms of his Puritan family. His Calvinism thus made him the chief advocate of moral restraint and public virtue in a republican world. Living frugally, he never evinced interest in earthly rewards and his unpretentiousness earned for him popularity with lower-class Bostonians. Humbly dressed, he freely moved among them while courting their support for his cause. According to Alderman, however, Adams’ appeal was not limited to the lower classes, for his sincerity also attracted Boston’s richest man, John Hancock. Uninterested in financial remuneration, Adams’ devotion to politics strained his precarious finances....

(The entire section is 476 words.)