I am not sure whether it can be called as complete history or whether it had some fiction mixed with it. “Those Who Love” is the biography of second US president John Adams written from the perspective of his wife Abigail Adams. I have always liked Irving Stone’s work. His books are very well researched and pick on one particular personality and then goes deep into the life of that person as well as the era of that time. The book was lying with me for a long time but remained unread but eventually I picked it up and once I had gone past first few pages, it became very interesting. It is not a thriller but written in a style that you want to keep on reading it.
The story covers extensive details about US independence since John Adams was one of the founding fathers and had a great role to play before and after the declaration of independence. The story also covers the personal life of John and Abigail. I really liked the way their courtship and dating started and eventually resulted in their marriage. I was reading a biography after a long time and they have always amazed me. You start reading about the life from the time when the person is not so famous and then slowly you follow his trials and successes till he becomes the president of the US.
Since the book is written from the perspective of Abigail Adams, the author has tried to keep the language from those times. It brings a smile to your face when Abigail says that she is in the season again referring to her pregnancy. The book also covers their family life. How they pickle for the cold season and run the household, the mode of transport that is primarily horses and carts. Overall, a really great book and life.
I had read some of Irving Stone’s books earlier and I had picked up “The Agony and the Ecstasy” on a hunch without knowing what I am going to find inside. I was completely bowled over by this book. My only regret remains that I read this book after my travels to Rome and Paris. I am sure if I had gone after reading this book, I would have enjoyed looking at those pictures and sculptures much more and would have understood and appreciated them a little better.
This is a biographical novel of Michelangelo, a renaissance painter, sculptor, architect and engineer. He was the architect for Saint Peter’s Basilica, Painter for Sistine Chapel and sculptor for his most famous works David and Pieta (Depiction of body of Jesus in the lap of Mother Mary after crucifixion). Before this book, I had never read anything remotely related about painting and sculpting. I had heard of Michelangelo but I did not know much about him. This book really opened my eyes to the science and struggle behind these greatest works of art. I could understand what kind of work goes in making a statue or a painting lifelike.
Irving stone has used Michelangelo’s letters written during his lifetime and his own research on the field for this book and it really brings authenticity to the story. The book talks about how Michelangelo did autopsy on dead bodies in secrecy to learn about inner details of human shape even though it was banned at that time. This is the learning which helped him in creating true to the form of human sculptures. I was amazed by the kind of study that was required about the rocks, their formation, size, support and shapes before they could be used. A really good book to read even if you do not know anything about these “Art works” in advance.