Going through school and studying history, too many times you find yourself learning the same things over and over again. Only when you find a gifted teacher who likes to give out tidbits of information that is not in the summaries of historical events do you really get to know history and appreciate it. The same can be said for any historical book on the market. I have read several that revealed no more to me than I had learned twenty years earlier. Then there are the books that you could read over and over again. This is what I found in Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation
by Cokie Roberts.
Mrs. Roberts has many years experience in the political world and took this to undertake the writing of Ladies of Liberty
. When I first picked up this book, it was for the interesting title. Noticing who the author was kept me looking more at it. I originally thought it was going to just give me a more detailed look at the First Ladies of America. I discovered much more.
If you want to truly know about the beginnings of America and what was going on in Washington, this is the book to read. It is through the social gatherings and the personal letters of the ladies of the New World that you learn what was really happening behind the historic events.
The book begins not with the first president and his famous first lady. It begins with the Presidency of John Adams and his first lady, Abigail. In this first section you get introduced into more detail the first lady and all the women of Washington. How do they react to new arrivals in town? How do they feel regarding a new law or the social actions of others? All this is disclosed through personal letters and the interacting of the women and their husbands.
As you go through the presidential terms ending with James Monroe, you learn who was really running the country. Though many have claimed that women have had no influence over the years as they were kept out of sight and out of mind, this books informs us how powerful these women really were.
When Jefferson came into office, there was no first lady. His wife had died a few years before leaving him with two children to raise on his own. When he got into the White House (not called by that name at that time), he was not inclined toward parties and socializing. It did not take long for him to understand that the women of the new capital would not stand for it. The social gatherings where politics were really made were expected. Jefferson got a wake up call on the influence of the women of town and how much they could get accomplished.
In reading, you will discover the bravery of women facing the British invading the capital. Learn how women banded together to help the poor and the orphans. Who started the Sunday School movement in America? Open the pages and find out.
I was thrilled to read and re-read sections to gather information that was flowing forth. Mrs. Roberts does an excellent job of tying in the women of the period and showing the influence that they had upon the young country and how it affects us today. She even throws in a small section on recipes of dishes that could be found at a gathering of Dolley Madisonís.
Ladies of Liberty
is a great historical read. Some sections are not light and might require a slower read since there is so much information to absorb. I highly recommend this book if you interested in early American history or even just the history of women in general.
Note: I purchased this book with my own funds to enjoy and review.