Synopses & Reviews
Cokie Roberts's number one New York Times
bestseller, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters
, examined the nature of women's roles throughout history and led USA Today
to praise her as a "custodian of time-honored values." Her second bestseller, From This Day Forward
, written with her husband, Steve Roberts, described American marriages throughout history, including the romance of John and Abigail Adams. Now Roberts returns with Founding Mothers
, an intimate and illuminating look at the fervently patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families -- and their country -- proved just as crucial to the forging of a new nation as the rebellion that established it.
While much has been written about the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, battled the British, and framed the Constitution, the wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters they left behind have been little noticed by history. Roberts brings us the women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, often defending their very doorsteps. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their businesses, raised their children, provided them with political advice, and made it possible for the men to do what they did. The behind-the-scenes influence of these women -- and their sometimes very public activities -- was intelligent and pervasive.
Drawing upon personal correspondence, private journals, and even favored recipes, Roberts reveals the often surprising stories of these fascinating women, bringing to life the everyday trials and extraordinary triumphs of individuals like Abigail Adams, Mercy Otis Warren, Deborah Read Franklin, Eliza Pinckney, Catherine Littlefield Green, Esther DeBerdt Reed, and Martha Washington -- proving that without our exemplary women, the new country might never have survived.
Social history at its best, Founding Mothers unveils the drive, determination, creative insight, and passion of the other patriots, the women who raised our nation. Roberts proves beyond a doubt that like every generation of American women that has followed, the founding mothers used the unique gifts of their gender -- courage, pluck, sadness, joy, energy, grace, sensitivity, and humor -- to do what women do best, put one foot in front of the other in remarkable circumstances and carry on.
"ABC News political commentator and NPR news analyst Roberts didn't intend this as a general history of women's lives in early America she just wanted to collect some great 'stories of the women who influenced the Founding Fathers.' For while we know the names of at least some of these women (Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Eliza Pinckney), we know little about their roles in the Revolutionary War, the writing of the Constitution, or the politics of our early republic. In rough chronological order, Roberts introduces a variety of women, mostly wives, sisters or mothers of key men, exploring how they used their wit, wealth or connections to influence the men who made policy. As high-profile players married into each other's families, as wives died in childbirth and husbands remarried, it seems as if early America or at least its upper crust was indeed a very small world. Roberts's style is delightfully intimate and confiding: on the debate over Mrs. Benedict Arnold's infamy, she proclaims, 'Peggy was in it from the beginning.' Roberts also has an ear for juicy quotes; she recounts Aaron Burr's mother, Esther, bemoaning that when talking to a man with 'mean thoughts of women,' her tongue 'hangs pretty loose,' so she 'talked him quite silent.' In addition to telling wonderful stories, Roberts also presents a very readable, serviceable account of politics male and female in early America. If only our standard history textbooks were written with such flair! 7 illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Bob Barnett. (On sale Apr. 13) Forecast: If booksellers position Roberts's book as a history of early America and not as a women's studies text it could have greater appeal." Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In "Founding Mothers," Roberts tells the fascinating yet overlooked story of the women who helped create a new nation. While the men were debating the merits of revolution, these women were living it even as the Redcoats landed on their doorsteps.
About the Author
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. From 1996 to 2002, she and Sam Donaldson coanchored the weekly ABC interview program, This Week
In addition to broadcasting, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by United Media. Both are also contributing editors to USA Weekend, and together they wrote From This Day Forward, an account of their now more than forty-year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto the New York Times bestseller list, following a six-month run on the list by Roberts's first book on women in American history, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. Roberts is also the author of the bestselling Founding Mothers, the companion volume to Ladies of Liberty. A mother of two and grandmother of six, she lives with her husband in Bethesda, Maryland.