Power Behind the Throne: Cokie Roberts describes a time when women in high places practiced dinner-table diplomacy

From The Washington Post:

Czarina As we consider who will be our next first lady (or first laddie), Cokie Roberts introduces us to the women who pioneered this most ill-defined of jobs. Ladies of Liberty also portrays a bevy of bluestockings, educators, explorers and even a few intrepid nuns, but it is the first ladies — especially the affable and politically astute Dolley Madison — who steal the show. This might be a good Mother’s Day gift for Michelle Obama, Cindy McCain or even Bill Clinton because the role has evolved surprisingly little.

Although one can imagine Abigail Adams or Dolley Madison having her own political career at a later time in our nation’s history, the first ladies chronicled here overwhelmingly saw their jobs solely in terms of what they could do for their husbands.

More here.