counter create hit Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation

Availability: Ready to download

In Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts paid homage to the heroic women whose patriotism and sacrifice helped create a new nation. Now the number one New York Times bestselling author and renowned political commentator—praised in USA Today as a "custodian of time-honored values"—continues the story of early America's influential women with Ladies of Liberty. In her "delightfull In Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts paid homage to the heroic women whose patriotism and sacrifice helped create a new nation. Now the number one New York Times bestselling author and renowned political commentator—praised in USA Today as a "custodian of time-honored values"—continues the story of early America's influential women with Ladies of Liberty. In her "delightfully intimate and confiding" style (Publishers Weekly), Roberts presents a colorful blend of biographical portraits and behind-the-scenes vignettes chronicling women's public roles and private responsibilities. Recounted with the insight and humor of an expert storyteller and drawing on personal correspondence, private journals, and other primary sources—many of them previously unpublished—Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a better society. Almost every quotation here is written by a woman, to a woman, or about a woman. From first ladies to freethinkers, educators to explorers, this exceptional group includes Abigail Adams, Margaret Bayard Smith, Martha Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Catherine Adams, Eliza Hamilton, Theodosia Burr, Rebecca Gratz, Louisa Livingston, Rosalie Calvert, Sacajawea, and others. In a much-needed addition to the shelves of Founding Father literature, Roberts sheds new light on the generation of heroines, reformers, and visionaries who helped shape our nation, giving these ladies of liberty the recognition they so greatly deserve.


Compare
Ads Banner

In Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts paid homage to the heroic women whose patriotism and sacrifice helped create a new nation. Now the number one New York Times bestselling author and renowned political commentator—praised in USA Today as a "custodian of time-honored values"—continues the story of early America's influential women with Ladies of Liberty. In her "delightfull In Founding Mothers, Cokie Roberts paid homage to the heroic women whose patriotism and sacrifice helped create a new nation. Now the number one New York Times bestselling author and renowned political commentator—praised in USA Today as a "custodian of time-honored values"—continues the story of early America's influential women with Ladies of Liberty. In her "delightfully intimate and confiding" style (Publishers Weekly), Roberts presents a colorful blend of biographical portraits and behind-the-scenes vignettes chronicling women's public roles and private responsibilities. Recounted with the insight and humor of an expert storyteller and drawing on personal correspondence, private journals, and other primary sources—many of them previously unpublished—Roberts brings to life the extraordinary accomplishments of women who laid the groundwork for a better society. Almost every quotation here is written by a woman, to a woman, or about a woman. From first ladies to freethinkers, educators to explorers, this exceptional group includes Abigail Adams, Margaret Bayard Smith, Martha Jefferson, Dolley Madison, Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Catherine Adams, Eliza Hamilton, Theodosia Burr, Rebecca Gratz, Louisa Livingston, Rosalie Calvert, Sacajawea, and others. In a much-needed addition to the shelves of Founding Father literature, Roberts sheds new light on the generation of heroines, reformers, and visionaries who helped shape our nation, giving these ladies of liberty the recognition they so greatly deserve.

30 review for Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    The Colonial

    The history genre has succeeded through the past two centuries from authors with prestigious backgrounds—including professors whom expunge upon their passion for a niche subject or time period—to historians who delight in bringing new insight and facts to the table through descriptive narrative and well-written structure. Unfortunately, it has become diluted with think tanks, journalists, and news commentators—all of whom want to throw their hat in for the next “Bestseller”, or cookie-cutter his The history genre has succeeded through the past two centuries from authors with prestigious backgrounds—including professors whom expunge upon their passion for a niche subject or time period—to historians who delight in bringing new insight and facts to the table through descriptive narrative and well-written structure. Unfortunately, it has become diluted with think tanks, journalists, and news commentators—all of whom want to throw their hat in for the next “Bestseller”, or cookie-cutter history of the year. This has been especially prevalent in the past few decades as news networks have gained in both popularity and influence, and social media has added clickbait material made all the more complete with their modernized and attention grabbing version of washed down facts and coverage. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the late Cokie Roberts definitely ranks among these. Ladies of Liberty is unusual in its criteria of focusing on women from the Early U.S. Republic, with a cast of characters that make a strong case for what could be a fascinating subject to uncover, including the likes of Margaret Bayard Smith, Eliza Hamilton, Elizabeth Monroe, Louisa Livingston, both Abigail and Louisa Adams, and Theodosia Burr. Regrettably, the material that goes into each abridged biography is marred by Roberts’ own conjecture and opinions of the times and people that are introduced to the specific woman being portrayed, with an abundance of italicized sarcasm, humor, and statements that aren’t relevant to the history being discussed. Instead of getting caught up with Theodosia’s devotion to her father Aaron—or understanding Dolley Madison’s ability to create and define the role of First Lady in the White House—the reader loses focus with bits of amateur gossip and unnecessary speculation thrown in: The trip back home with a seventeen-month-old was like all trips with seventeen-month-olds: “Mr. Alston appears so distressed and worn out with the child’s fretting, that it returns on me with redoubled force.” Baby fusses, Dad gets mad, takes it out on Mom. Some things really don’t change. Eight long cramped-in-a-carriage days later, she wrote that it was an “unpleasant” journey that “frets the boy, who has acquired two jaw teeth since he left you.” A teething baby and her in-laws on board had tested the limits of Theodosia’s patience… The only driving force found is the fact that there aren’t too many histories or biographies focusing on many of the women that Roberts covers, and she has researched them effectively enough to prove and make the case for further study as well as for the publishing of books based on them. Suffice to say, the main take-home point after reading this would be to stray widely from any history and/or biography written by those personalities (Brian Kilmeade comes to mind) who have a voice for reporting, analyzing and commentating—as that’s where their talents should stay focused. The book cleverly comes with a list of “Recipes” used by some of the women discussed, as well as a Cast of Characters and a few illustrations. Read the Full Review and More

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennie

    It was dry and non-fiction, but above that, it was hard to follow and somewhat boring. The book is broken into chapters for each Presidency from John Adams to the days John Quincy Adams wins his election. Initially, this seems like a great set-up until the author jumps into an individual’s childhood with those chapters, leaving the reader unsure of the time and place. I think it would have been a better fit if the author had written about the women and allowed their stories to lead into the next It was dry and non-fiction, but above that, it was hard to follow and somewhat boring. The book is broken into chapters for each Presidency from John Adams to the days John Quincy Adams wins his election. Initially, this seems like a great set-up until the author jumps into an individual’s childhood with those chapters, leaving the reader unsure of the time and place. I think it would have been a better fit if the author had written about the women and allowed their stories to lead into the next woman’s story. This was attempted within the President chapters but with the history of each woman and how they were connected all jumbled in the chapters, it was hard to follow along. Hearing the “voices” of these women, who were more instrumental than I knew, was very interesting. I loved reading their actual words on the governmental operation and society from letters that had written. You could hear the interest, the disgust and the indignation over the state of the country, and the relationship with the United States and other countries. Also, the trials these women went through as the mothers, wives and daughters of the men in government astounded be. Even after reading other biographies on the Revolution, such as John Adams, I am still in shock at some of the places these women had to live, birth children and raise a family. When they weren’t in foreign countries, some torn by war, they were living apart from their husbands. This was in a world before modern communication so they waiting months between letters from their spouse. The loneliness must have been unbearable but they lived through it for it was their duty, for their male counterparts and for their country.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    I learned facinating things about the First Ladies of our country. Some things I didn't want to know about some of the men, however. I did learn about one woman, who is mentioned in the book, that I have since decided to greatly admire: Isabella Marshall Graham, who began the first orphanages in NYC as well as organizing a relief society for young widows with children (which she had personally experienced). She wrote her own autobiography called The Power of Faith (which can be found in its entir I learned facinating things about the First Ladies of our country. Some things I didn't want to know about some of the men, however. I did learn about one woman, who is mentioned in the book, that I have since decided to greatly admire: Isabella Marshall Graham, who began the first orphanages in NYC as well as organizing a relief society for young widows with children (which she had personally experienced). She wrote her own autobiography called The Power of Faith (which can be found in its entirety on-line) which is really amazing and facinating. Yeah for her and her bravery, conviction and faith.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    Jill Bernard December 24, 2008 Book Report Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts The lives of women in Colonial America were fucking boring and stupid. This is the theme of Ladies of Liberty by Cokie Roberts. Their lives were boring. Their lives were stupid. Totally. In conclusion, totally fucking boring and stupid is the way Cokie Roberts describes the lives of Colonial American women in her book, Ladies of Liberty. ---- Bibliography Roberts, Cokie Ladies of Liberty. Harper Collins, New York, 2008.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Fascinating insight into the every day lives of women in the late 1700'2 and early 1800's!It showed that "political pillow talk" was as powerful then as now. Social activities were much more useful to politicians than now because parties and dinners were the main way of people interacting and making contact. The savvy hostess was a huge asset to a man in office; the higher post he had, the more influence she had. Ms Roberts also shows the daily struggles women of that day to endure in order to p Fascinating insight into the every day lives of women in the late 1700'2 and early 1800's!It showed that "political pillow talk" was as powerful then as now. Social activities were much more useful to politicians than now because parties and dinners were the main way of people interacting and making contact. The savvy hostess was a huge asset to a man in office; the higher post he had, the more influence she had. Ms Roberts also shows the daily struggles women of that day to endure in order to provide education for her children, accomplish household chores and frequently stretch a budget to include politics and farming. Most women preferred their husbands not leave to go serve their country in Philadelphia or Washington,D. C. while they stayed home and did all the mechanics of raising a family and earning an income. Some didn't see their husbands for long months and even years as in the case of Abigail Adams and Thomas Jefferson's wife. It was interesting reading about the founding of Washington, D.C. making me wonder why they chose such an awful piece of real estate. Ms Roberts also showed how government hasn't changed much. Our founders didn't always think of how to pay for programs before initiating them.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Women in history, especially American history, are often overlooked. Cokie Roberts seeks to right that wrong by giving us an inside look at the women who mattered in revolutionary America: how they affected powerful men and, hence, public policy, as well as the contributions and sacrifices they made to allow the great men of America to be great men. For instance, conventional history tends to treat Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, as a weak, unhappy woman. But one only has to read the ac Women in history, especially American history, are often overlooked. Cokie Roberts seeks to right that wrong by giving us an inside look at the women who mattered in revolutionary America: how they affected powerful men and, hence, public policy, as well as the contributions and sacrifices they made to allow the great men of America to be great men. For instance, conventional history tends to treat Louisa Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams, as a weak, unhappy woman. But one only has to read the account of how she moved her entire household from Russia to Paris without her husband's help and during a time of impending war to realize how strong, capable and courageous she really was. I also very much enjoyed Cokie Roberts' writing style: factual and easy to read, with a hint of humor. She wrote as a modern woman giving a modern take on the antiquated assumptions of a time long past. Although this is a sequel, I read it before Roberts' first book, Founding Mothers. I am anxious to go back and read the first one.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    What history book tends to comment on what Mrs. M wore or how Mrs. Adams decorated her home for a ball honoring her husband's political opponent? This one does! Even better, through quotations of personal correspondence written by, to, or about a woman, we peek into the minds and hearts of America's leading families of the first quarter of the nineteenth century. I'd never known of Louisa Catherine Adams's harrowing adventure as she and her small son traveled from St. Petersburg to Paris (in a R What history book tends to comment on what Mrs. M wore or how Mrs. Adams decorated her home for a ball honoring her husband's political opponent? This one does! Even better, through quotations of personal correspondence written by, to, or about a woman, we peek into the minds and hearts of America's leading families of the first quarter of the nineteenth century. I'd never known of Louisa Catherine Adams's harrowing adventure as she and her small son traveled from St. Petersburg to Paris (in a Russian carriage, no less) in the midst of the turmoil surrounding Napoleon's escape from Elba and return to power. Sure, her husband had just brokered an end to the War of 1812 in Ghent, but what an accomplishment in her own right! The words of Rosalie Stier Calvert, one of few female staunch federalists, Dolley Madison, of course, Margaret Bayard Smith, Theodosia Burr, Bestey Patterson Bonaparte (I loved the contemporary descriptions of her skimpy party gowns and the sensation she caused in society), and countless other women of the times reveal the moving, breathing side of history that enlives the traditional historical narrative. You read of miscarriages, infant deaths, competitive drawing room receptions, and fierce loyalty to husbands, political ideals, and the future of America. Roberts also highlights the pioneers of female enducation and of social services to widows and orphans. No matter how liberated and enlightened women might feel we are today, women then, in their sphere of influence, were just as engaged in taking advantage of and shaping the processes that make our country great.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    wow Cokie Robert's reading of her own book is one of the best audio production i've listened to. She make late 1700s -early 1800s U.S. history gossipy and bitchy, she knows Washington, she knows these women, there are asides in the reading, you see her raise her eyebrows as she tells us what went on. i suspect the present political campaign, whatever election year it is, will be said to be the worst and in the Old Days it was never as bad as it is now. The president has brought his daughters to wh wow Cokie Robert's reading of her own book is one of the best audio production i've listened to. She make late 1700s -early 1800s U.S. history gossipy and bitchy, she knows Washington, she knows these women, there are asides in the reading, you see her raise her eyebrows as she tells us what went on. i suspect the present political campaign, whatever election year it is, will be said to be the worst and in the Old Days it was never as bad as it is now. The president has brought his daughters to whore them out for votes (Jefferson), the front runner for the presidency is whoring his wife for votes (James Madison). Nothing like saving George Washington's portrait while the White House is under the torch to restore your reputation. The Dolly Madison of children's books wasn't the Dolly Madison the press reported on. Another lesson, don't get ill or come down w/cancer in 1800, i about broke down while Robert's read about the woman w/breast cancer. The story of the congressmens donation to the orphan asylum sounded like we were sitting on Cokie Robert's porch, drinking sweet tea and she was telling us a story.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Trina

    I loved this book and it's unique portrayal of political events post-Revolutionary War through the war of 1812 via the eyes of the prominant women of the time. Roberts quotes extensively from the women who wrote about current events and I was captivated. There's nothing like reading Louisa and John Quincy Adam's letters to each other to feel how real these people were and to get a sense of what it was like to live during those times. It was what I love most about history: a feeling of being conn I loved this book and it's unique portrayal of political events post-Revolutionary War through the war of 1812 via the eyes of the prominant women of the time. Roberts quotes extensively from the women who wrote about current events and I was captivated. There's nothing like reading Louisa and John Quincy Adam's letters to each other to feel how real these people were and to get a sense of what it was like to live during those times. It was what I love most about history: a feeling of being connected with real people that lived through historic times. Dolley Madison is now on my list of top ten people I hope to meet someday. The book is literally filled, page after page, with vibrant, strong and articulate women whose influence was undeniably great even during times when they weren't officially allowed a political voice. This book is a sequel (I discovered that after I checked it out) and I will gladly put the first (Founding Mothers) on hold next.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Cokie Roberts, our former Mayor Barbara Sigmund's sister, paints a vivid picture of what the women of the second half of the Revolutionary War era were saying and doing while the men struggled to form a new nation out of the colonies and the frontier. We get a much fuller picture of what the men were really like as they wrote to their women folk and also of the behind the scenes work of the ladies. It was considered unseemly for a man to campaign for himself; surrogates would campaign for him an Cokie Roberts, our former Mayor Barbara Sigmund's sister, paints a vivid picture of what the women of the second half of the Revolutionary War era were saying and doing while the men struggled to form a new nation out of the colonies and the frontier. We get a much fuller picture of what the men were really like as they wrote to their women folk and also of the behind the scenes work of the ladies. It was considered unseemly for a man to campaign for himself; surrogates would campaign for him and the wives would preside over balls and parties that would facilitate their husbands aspirations. She also covers important women outside of politics, like Emma Willard who founded the first secondary education for girls (where I went to school) and St. Rose Duchesne who founded the Sacred Heart Schools (where I sent my daughter) . There's a long passage on Sacajawea too. It's an informative and fun read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Mustread

    Focusing on the letters written by the first-ladies and other prominent women of post-Revolutionary United States, this was a fascinating inside look at the thoughts and actions of the influential women whose lives were most entwined with politics between 1797-1825. The most interesting to me was Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams. Roberts did an excellent job of combining the history and politics of the times with the background and personalities of the women. Now I would Focusing on the letters written by the first-ladies and other prominent women of post-Revolutionary United States, this was a fascinating inside look at the thoughts and actions of the influential women whose lives were most entwined with politics between 1797-1825. The most interesting to me was Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, wife of John Quincy Adams. Roberts did an excellent job of combining the history and politics of the times with the background and personalities of the women. Now I would like to read her other books about women in American History – We Are Our Mothers' Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sallie

    I finished this book last night. I do heartily recommend it to all whether your interested in history or not. As I mentioned in my early report while I was only a couple of chapters into the book, it is filled with quotes from letters written by the ladies of the times and so much more. Cokie Roberts must have read or had help reading hundreds of letters from those days. Plus she gives lots of information about women making a mark in their towns and cities around this growing nation, and for the I finished this book last night. I do heartily recommend it to all whether your interested in history or not. As I mentioned in my early report while I was only a couple of chapters into the book, it is filled with quotes from letters written by the ladies of the times and so much more. Cokie Roberts must have read or had help reading hundreds of letters from those days. Plus she gives lots of information about women making a mark in their towns and cities around this growing nation, and for the most part, I'd never heard of any of them. And I do like history although it's usually the history of times prior to 1800 which I once told a cousin was more like current events to me ;-} A truly fascinating read. I shall now have to get her earlier book about Founding Mothers. Find a copy Susan A, you'll enjoy it I know.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lexi

    Dense and a bit dry, but thorough history. I had no idea how much women were a part of politics and public life--women used to crowd in Congress to listen to debates! I would like to read Cokie's earlier tome, Founding Mothers. I am thoroughly disappointed in the editing. First of all, the basic copy-editing is appalling. There are dozens of silly errors, like sentence fragments, misplaced prepositions, unclear pronouns, etc. Second, the content and organization could use a lot of work! Roberts Dense and a bit dry, but thorough history. I had no idea how much women were a part of politics and public life--women used to crowd in Congress to listen to debates! I would like to read Cokie's earlier tome, Founding Mothers. I am thoroughly disappointed in the editing. First of all, the basic copy-editing is appalling. There are dozens of silly errors, like sentence fragments, misplaced prepositions, unclear pronouns, etc. Second, the content and organization could use a lot of work! Roberts is trying to organize very disparate pieces of information and it's hard to do so in a coherent narrative. The editor should have improved the transitions between subjects, detailed relationships more clearly, and clarified the flow of the tale. The subject matter and writing deserves 3 stars, but the editing is a 1.5 at best.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I picked this book because I'm teaching a class on American women--you know, the wild and the wicked--and found it fascinating. The follow up book to Founding Mothers, this volume deals with the stories of American women from the Revolution to the disputed election of 1824 and the "corrupt bargain" that brought John Quincy Adams to the White House. The tone is gossipy rather than scholarly, which made for fun reading, and Roberts relies heavily on the letters written to and by the ladies highlig I picked this book because I'm teaching a class on American women--you know, the wild and the wicked--and found it fascinating. The follow up book to Founding Mothers, this volume deals with the stories of American women from the Revolution to the disputed election of 1824 and the "corrupt bargain" that brought John Quincy Adams to the White House. The tone is gossipy rather than scholarly, which made for fun reading, and Roberts relies heavily on the letters written to and by the ladies highlighted in this volume. Thank goodness for the letter writers. They traded news, gossip, observations, etc. about the personalities and the issues of the day. Fascinating insights into Abigail Adams, Louisa Adams, Dolley Madison, Martha Washington, and countless others.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book was worth every minute it took for me to finish it. The history of these Constitutional women was amazing. An extremely well researched book. The details were very challenging to keep straight, but I feel so much more educated for having read this book. I loved this book so much I asked for the hard copy as part of my own library, and received it from my daughter Jennifer for Mother's Day. I plan to also read Founding Mothers, also, by Cokie Roberts. If history is your thing this book This book was worth every minute it took for me to finish it. The history of these Constitutional women was amazing. An extremely well researched book. The details were very challenging to keep straight, but I feel so much more educated for having read this book. I loved this book so much I asked for the hard copy as part of my own library, and received it from my daughter Jennifer for Mother's Day. I plan to also read Founding Mothers, also, by Cokie Roberts. If history is your thing this book is so worth it. If not, you will tire and get bored quickly. Hopefully, it is required reading for college history majors and those studying influencial American women.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Cokie Roberts has been one of my favorite journalists for a long time now and her writings about the women of early America shows her at her best. She has clearly done extensive research to prepare this book and most of the sources are primary. She quotes letters and journals of the women commenting on a wide-ranging set of topics. One minute the women are discussing the politics of the day and the next disparaging the dress worn by a certain lady to a ball. It's all quite enjoyable. It has made Cokie Roberts has been one of my favorite journalists for a long time now and her writings about the women of early America shows her at her best. She has clearly done extensive research to prepare this book and most of the sources are primary. She quotes letters and journals of the women commenting on a wide-ranging set of topics. One minute the women are discussing the politics of the day and the next disparaging the dress worn by a certain lady to a ball. It's all quite enjoyable. It has made me want to pursue other books about these women. And as Ms. Roberts narrates her own book, it was a real treat.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This book provides a fascinating window into the lives of upper class women living in the United States shortly after its inception. Roberts' use of primary source material in the form of the women's letters renders the book particularly insightful. The only aspect of the book which disappoints is Roberts' writing style - she is overly colloquial in places and prone to using trite exclamations of sentiment that are wholly unnecessary. However, this is only a small detractor from this otherwise e This book provides a fascinating window into the lives of upper class women living in the United States shortly after its inception. Roberts' use of primary source material in the form of the women's letters renders the book particularly insightful. The only aspect of the book which disappoints is Roberts' writing style - she is overly colloquial in places and prone to using trite exclamations of sentiment that are wholly unnecessary. However, this is only a small detractor from this otherwise engaging read.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Libby

    I really wanted to like this book, but instead it took me a really long time to read it and I had to force myself to finish it. It was hard to follow and quite boring. There was interesting moments, but I think it was the writing that made it so boring - not necessarily the subject matter.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    She retreads a lot of material that I have read about already. But there are some important feminine figures that I hadn't know about which made this worthwhile in addition to hearing Cokie Roberts voice (I read on an audiobook).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It's so much fun to start this book within just a few months of finishing the first (Founding Mothers). It's like we're back visiting with old friends...

  21. 4 out of 5

    The Librarian

    I listened to this on my Holiday commute this year. Fascinating perspective on the ladies of the American Revolution--a spunky lot, I must say! Cokie Roberts was an excellent narrator as well.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was a long slow read, but oh so interesting. At the end all I can say is--I had NO idea. And that I'm super glad that now we have contraceptives. ;)

  23. 5 out of 5

    China Rusch

    I learned so much from this book that I desperately wish I had learned in school.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Beverly Diehl

    This book, published in 2008, has been on my Kindle FOREVER; with Ms. Roberts' recent death, I decided to move it to the front of my TBR queue. I loved Ms. Roberts' journalism, I love American history, what could go wrong? The stories themselves, gleaned from letters written and received mostly from First Ladies, beginning with the end of Abigail Adams' time as the President's wife, through to the inauguration of Louisa Johnson Adams' husband, John Quincy Adams, were interesting and well-told. But This book, published in 2008, has been on my Kindle FOREVER; with Ms. Roberts' recent death, I decided to move it to the front of my TBR queue. I loved Ms. Roberts' journalism, I love American history, what could go wrong? The stories themselves, gleaned from letters written and received mostly from First Ladies, beginning with the end of Abigail Adams' time as the President's wife, through to the inauguration of Louisa Johnson Adams' husband, John Quincy Adams, were interesting and well-told. But a big piece that was missing, is SLAVERY. If you could put that aside, the book was great. I couldn't put it aside. I "get" that, in those times, slavery was a debated, but accepted condition, and probably, if she had the book to write over in modern times, Ms. Roberts might have shone more light on women of color (she did feature a few), but for me, that was the elephant in the room. How much did these women benefit because other human beings were treated as their property? Did they have any qualms about it? Especially Dolley Madison, who'd grown up as an abolitionist Quaker, and later, lived on James Madison's plantation, Montpelier. I know we can't judge the past by today's standards, so if you don't have the same qualms, you might enjoy this more than I did.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mysteryfan

    It is bewildering to me that Goodreads treats the picture book version as the main entry for the title. The picture book and the actual book are quite different. The book covers the period between the first Adams presidency and the end of the Monroe presidency. It's told from the point of view of women. It's extremely well-researched and written. The primary characters are the first ladies of the time, but she includes Sacajawea, Rosalie Calvert, Mother Seaton, the founders of orphanages, and ot It is bewildering to me that Goodreads treats the picture book version as the main entry for the title. The picture book and the actual book are quite different. The book covers the period between the first Adams presidency and the end of the Monroe presidency. It's told from the point of view of women. It's extremely well-researched and written. The primary characters are the first ladies of the time, but she includes Sacajawea, Rosalie Calvert, Mother Seaton, the founders of orphanages, and others. If you interested in the relationships and history of the time, you'll find it fascinating.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lochsley

    I loved this in depth look at women in history who so often get glossed over. I felt like I was there and I cried with them at their losses which were many!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I was excited about the subject of this historical look at the contributions of women in the early development of our country. However, I found the book much like a college textbook, loaded with quotes, dates, and locations, and I struggled to keep them all straight. Often I struggled to keep awake while reading. For me, it was too many similar names (so many people were named for others in that time) and trying to clearly recall all the relationships. Too late I realized that there was a list o I was excited about the subject of this historical look at the contributions of women in the early development of our country. However, I found the book much like a college textbook, loaded with quotes, dates, and locations, and I struggled to keep them all straight. Often I struggled to keep awake while reading. For me, it was too many similar names (so many people were named for others in that time) and trying to clearly recall all the relationships. Too late I realized that there was a list of "characters" at the back of the book. Still, I don't like having to flip back and forth while reading for pleasure. There were some interesting anecdotes parsed throughout, and those read better. I found it interesting how often diplomats were sailing from one continent to another, and yet how long it took for information to catch up to them. There were intriguing insights into the motivations of many of the wives of these men in power, and how they were required to conduct themselves to forward their husband's interests. As etiquette was still being established in the new nation, rules were changing in an attempt to assuage slights. Although very well researched and quite thorough, I can't bring myself to recommend this book for pleasure reading, but I can suggest it for study or reference.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexandria

    This book was kind of hard to get into, but I lay that at the feet of Abigail Adams rather than Cokie Roberts. Roberts' writing style is respectful but playful, engaging without distracting from the information presented. Adams, however, is not among the first ladies I enjoy learning about, her views being rather out of alignment with my own. I found Dolly Madison much more engaging, though I will admit that Roberts' writing style endeared everyone but Abigail Adams to my by the end. This is a si This book was kind of hard to get into, but I lay that at the feet of Abigail Adams rather than Cokie Roberts. Roberts' writing style is respectful but playful, engaging without distracting from the information presented. Adams, however, is not among the first ladies I enjoy learning about, her views being rather out of alignment with my own. I found Dolly Madison much more engaging, though I will admit that Roberts' writing style endeared everyone but Abigail Adams to my by the end. This is a side of history we're not often taught. When we learn of women in history at all it is either presented as the blazing stars that broke free of society to leave their mark, or it is the oppressed suffering more or less silently. These women are neither archetype. They worked within the system they were given to better their lives and the lives of their fellow citizens. It's inspiring in a way I haven't often been inspired before and I fully intend to seek out more of Roberts' books, particularly on this topic. At a time when myth is becoming more important than fact in our political narrative, having a solid understanding of the truth of our history is very important. Books like Roberts' help us develop that understanding.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I really enjoyed reading post-revolutionary war US history (John Adams’ inauguration to John Quincy Adams’ inauguration) through the writings and lives of the women that experienced it – Lewis and Clark from Sacajawea’s perspective, the War of 1812 through diplomats' wives eyes, etc. Military history has never really been my thing, but this was full of the kind of history that fascinates me – diplomacy, perspective from underprivileged voices, cultures grappling with the major questions of their I really enjoyed reading post-revolutionary war US history (John Adams’ inauguration to John Quincy Adams’ inauguration) through the writings and lives of the women that experienced it – Lewis and Clark from Sacajawea’s perspective, the War of 1812 through diplomats' wives eyes, etc. Military history has never really been my thing, but this was full of the kind of history that fascinates me – diplomacy, perspective from underprivileged voices, cultures grappling with the major questions of their era, and societies deciding how they want to rebuild the world. I will confess that her prose bothered me, which is why I didn’t rank this one higher. I think she tried to make things more chatty and vivid to hold people’s attention, but there were entirely too many exclamation points for me to handle. I rolled my eyes a lot. But I am definitely glad I read this one, and I thought the narratives Roberts used to tell the story were brilliantly chosen.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lensey

    This book tells the story of influential (and mostly privileged) women between the period of John Adams' inauguration in 1797 and John Quincy Adams' inauguration in 1825. The book uses numerous quotes from personal letters written by these women to tell their own stories. I found this to be a very informative and engaging book. I found it interesting to learn about how women, even in a time when they had very few rights, were able to establish and maintain various institutions. I loved seeing th This book tells the story of influential (and mostly privileged) women between the period of John Adams' inauguration in 1797 and John Quincy Adams' inauguration in 1825. The book uses numerous quotes from personal letters written by these women to tell their own stories. I found this to be a very informative and engaging book. I found it interesting to learn about how women, even in a time when they had very few rights, were able to establish and maintain various institutions. I loved seeing the importance of the wives in the political careers of our earliest leaders. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in women's roles in history or in learning more about the formative years of our country. I plan to read Cokie Roberts' other books as well. Her writing style is fluid and very engaging, making for an enjoyable read!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.