Book Review: Ladies of Liberty

Ladies of Liberty

Women Who Shaped Our Nation

By: Cokie Roberts

Copyright: 2008

BR 17787

5 Volumes

Renowned news reporter Cokie Roberts breathes new life into

Early American history as she relates the lives of dozens of women, both notable and obscure. These are the wives of America’s first Presidents and statesmen, the founders of America’s first social service agencies and religious orders, women actively involved in the lives of their families, polite society, and the workings of government. They accompanied their husbands to Embassy postings in Paris, London, and St. Petersburg. They faced the same dangers imposed by disease and trans-Atlantic travel, and endured additional threats specific to their gender such as intimidation and childbirth. And like women in every age, these women voiced their opinions.

Roberts uses letters and journal entries to detail these vivid examples of intelligence, grace and unspeakable courage. We wait nervously with beautiful, well-educated Theodosia as her beloved father Aaron Burr gathers troops to create his own American empire. We share Louisa‘s carriage as she deals with the perils of mud and snow–not to mention an encounter with Napoleon’s troops–during her 40 day journey to rejoin husband John Quincy Adams.

And just in case you imagine these women didn’t also tend to hearth and table, below is a recipe found among several included at the end of the text. As I learned from reading, not only did she manage to res cue George Washington’s portrait as the British attacked Washington DC in 1815, Dolley Madison was also famous for her social gatherings. Designed to introduce newcomers to the capitol city and to one another, these popular “Squeezes” challenged the sturdiness of the dining table, they were so weighted down with tasty delights.

Dolley Madison’s Layer Cake

8 egg whites




Corn starch


Beat the whites of 8 eggs until stiff, and in peaks. Set aside. Cream 1 cup butter with 2 ½ cups sugar. Add 1 cup milk slowly, mix well. Add ¾ cup corn starch and 3 cups sifted flour to the butter-egg mixture. Mix well and add 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla. Fold in the egg whites carefully. Bake in 4 layer pans, well greased. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the ake springs back when touched lightly. Cool on racks and frost with Dolley’s Caramel.

*Unfortunately, Dolley’s Caramel is not included In the text

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Ladies of Liberty

  1. Joan–This book by Cokie Roberts is “my cup of tea.”  I read the book a few years ago and loved this book of women’s history.  I have read, enjoyed, and greatly learned from a number of books by Cokie Roberts.  Her talents as a broadcaster and author are sadly missed after her too early passing on September 17, 2019, at age 75.

    Thanks for spotlighting LADIES  OF LIBERTY!

    Talk with you soon–Alice and Willow

  2. Glad to know you are aware of this amazing piece of writing. Ms Roberts certainly brought all her journalism skills to this project. I look forward to reading more of her. Thanks for checking in, Alice, love hearing from you! Blessings *starlight**crescent moon**smiling heart*

  3. It’s so interesting – lives of women everywhere are so multi-dimensional. What a gift to read your report and check out the recipe too! Thank you, beloved Joan for always bringing a smile to my face. *twinkling stars and smiling children*

    1. A sweet, sweet sunbeam on this foggy morning to find your words, thank you darling Krishnapria! Blessings and much love to you *hummingbirds**willows in mist**children dancing*

  4. Reblogged this on Jewniquely Myself and commented:

    **Yes, it’s President’s Day once more here in the USA. May we all reflect upon the vision and valor of the men and women who came before us, and upon what they have bestowed upon each and every one of us–liberty and responsibility–a republic…if we can keep it**

  5. Then you would absolutely love this book, dear friend. These amazing and heroic women did not only stand behind their husbands, they remained steadfast and outspoken partners, standing bravely beside them throughout and despite every possible trial. Truly a great read if you get the chance.Wishing you sweetness, and warmth during our own historic trials.

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