Cokie Roberts highlights the Civil War-era women who held the nation together

Eric Spanberg in Christian Science Monitor:

CokiePeople even casually interested in the Civil War can list the major players: President Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and William T. Sherman. Maybe throw in Frederick Douglass and Jeb Stuart, too. Notice anything strange about those names? All men and all white, with the exception of Douglass. While the women’s liberation movement in the 1960s raised the issue of gender equity in academics and the telling of history, broader mainstream awareness remains paltry when it comes to what half of the population was up to during important moments of the past.

Cokie Roberts, the NPR and ABC News political analyst, is helping to reverse such cultural ignorance in American history. In 2004, she wrote “Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation,” using letters, journals and other documents to tell the story of early-US history with perspective from and about important figures including Martha Washington, Eliza Pinckney, and Deborah Read Franklin, women who all had a unique vantage point during the Revolutionary era. Then, in 2008, came “Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation,” examining the achievements and sorrows of notables such as Sacagawea, Theodosia Burr, Martha Jefferson and Dolley Madison, among others. Roberts again combines her historical interest and long personal knowledge of Washington politics in her new book, Capital Dames (494 pp., HarperCollins). Her latest history, published to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, follows the lives of wives, sisters and daughters of influential politicians as well as remarkable activists.

More here.