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Publisher: HarperAudio
Release Date: April 13, 2004
ISBN: 0060527889
Format Reviewed:
Cassette tapes - Unabridged edition - 6 hours / 4 tapes
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Genre:   Nonfiction / History
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer Notes:  

Founding Mothers
The Women Who Raised Our Nation
By Cokie Roberts
Read by Cokie Roberts

“Remember the ladies.”
-- Abigail Adams

In the introduction, Roberts’ wonders what the women in William Claybourne’s life did during his political years. William is her ancestor. Roberts’ tells us politicians run in her family, in each generation, actually. Her interest in the women of America was piqued when she and her husband wrote a book about John Adams and learned more about Abigail Adams.

“Most of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, fought the Revolution and formed the government couldn’t have done it without the women.”

Roberts tells us these extraordinary women, living extraordinary lives, had the ears of the founding fathers.

“It was the women who got the men together for civilized conversations at the dinner parties of the new Republic and kept the fragile country from falling into fatal partisan discord. They made them behave.”

   One of the problems with history is that it’s male orientated. There isn’t much about our “founding mothers.” Roberts finds most of her information in the letters and diaries of these women. At the age of sixteen, Eliza Lucas (Pinckey) ran her father’s three plantations, taught her sisters and slaves lessons and wrote Wills for her neighbors. Ben Franklin’s common-law wife ran his print shop and her Sundry shop while he played politics. Pamphlets were the delivery system of the colonial era and it was Mercy Otis Warren, the wife and sister of revolutionaries, who bravely published pamphlets against the British government.

    It took a family to raise a country – at least that’s what Cokie Roberts is trying to tell us as she relates the strength of our founding mothers and their families who continued on without their men. Without their families running their homes and businesses, the founding fathers would not have completed their political – not to mention historical --jobs. Founding Mothers is a fascinating read/listen. Those who consider history dull will discover this book has enough personal tidbits about our founding mothers to ward off the doldrums.

    Roberts reads the audio version of Founding Mothers. Her reading is similar to her News reports. Her tone varies from personally proud, to political, to gossipy, to feminist. Founding Mothers informs readers and garners discussion. Consider sharing it with a group of friends.