Woody Holton


Woody Holton is the author most recently of Abigail Adams (Free Press, 2009), winner of the 2010 Bancroft Prize, and Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (Hill & Wang, 2007), a finalist for the National Book Award.

     Holton is an associate professor of history and American studies at the University of Richmond. His first book, Forced Founders: Indians, Debtors, Slaves and the Making of the American Revolution in Virginia, won the Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. His work has been selected for the OAH's Best American History Essays (2006).


“Splendid.… What gives Holton’s work fresh significance is that his perceptive scouring of the Adams Papers leads him to explore an aspect of Abigail’s life that other biographers either have overlooked or chosen to ignore … how even at the last she defied the male world in which the laws then held that any wealth a woman might have brought to her marriage became her husband’s to use… A notable success and very much worth reading.” Boston Globe

Holton vividly captures the brilliance, charm, and spunk of Abigail Adams, and shows why she deserves her place at the table along with her husband John and the other Founders. A must-read book for understanding the founding of our nation.” —Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

“A captivating portrait of a reformer both inside and outside the home. . . . Holton's superb biography shows us a three-dimensional Adams as a forward-thinking woman with a mind of her own.” —Publishers Weekly