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Islington Branch Book Club - Past Titles: "Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts

Take a look through previous titles we've discussed at our Islington Branch Book Club

"Founding Mothers" by Cokie Roberts

  1. **Cokie Roberts focuses on the contributions of women during the founding of the United States. How does "Founding Mothers" reshape our understanding of the nation's history by highlighting the roles of women?

  2. **The book covers a diverse group of women, including Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, and others. How did the experiences and perspectives of these women differ, and what common challenges did they face during this historical period?

  3. **Discuss the societal expectations and limitations placed on women during the Revolutionary War era. In what ways did these women challenge or navigate these expectations to contribute to the founding of the nation?

  4. **Abigail Adams is a prominent figure in the book. How did her correspondence with John Adams provide insight into her political views and influence the decisions of the Founding Fathers?

  5. **Cokie Roberts highlights the friendships and networks among women during this period. How did these connections contribute to the social and political fabric of the time?

  6. **The book covers both well-known figures and lesser-known women. Whose story resonated with you the most, and why?

  7. **Explore the role of education for women during the Revolutionary War era. How did education, or the lack thereof, impact their ability to contribute to the founding of the nation?

  8. **Consider the influence of the Founding Mothers on the shaping of political ideas and policies. In what ways did their perspectives contribute to the formation of the early American government?

  9. **"Founding Mothers" emphasizes the sacrifices made by women on the home front during the war. How did women manage their households, businesses, and families in the absence of their husbands and sons?

  10. **Discuss the intersectionality of the experiences of women during this time, considering factors such as race and social class. How did the experiences of enslaved women differ from those of white women, for example?

  11. **Cokie Roberts explores the impact of war on family life. How did the Revolutionary War strain or strengthen family ties, and how did women cope with the challenges of war?

  12. **Reflect on the legacy of the Founding Mothers. In what ways did their contributions shape the trajectory of women's roles in American society, and how is their impact felt today?

Cokie Roberts, whose full name is Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Roberts, was an American journalist and author known for her contributions to political commentary and historical writing. Here is a brief biography of Cokie Roberts:

Early Life:

  • Cokie Roberts was born on December 27, 1943, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.
  • She was part of a prominent political family; her father, Hale Boggs, was a U.S. Representative from Louisiana, and her mother, Lindy Boggs, succeeded her father in Congress after his plane disappeared in 1972.


  • Roberts attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic girls' school in New Orleans.
  • She later studied at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, earning a degree in political science.

Journalistic Career:

  • Cokie Roberts began her career in journalism as a reporter for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.
  • She joined National Public Radio (NPR) in 1978 as a congressional correspondent, quickly becoming a well-respected voice in political reporting.
  • Roberts later worked for ABC News as a political commentator and analyst.

Books and Writing:

  • In addition to her broadcast work, Cokie Roberts was a prolific author, writing several books on history and politics.
  • One of her notable works is "Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation," published in 2004, which explores the roles of women during the American Revolutionary War.
  • She also co-authored books with her husband, journalist Steven V. Roberts.

Awards and Recognition:

  • Cokie Roberts received numerous awards throughout her career, including three Emmy Awards.
  • She was recognized for her contributions to journalism, political commentary, and her commitment to highlighting the historical contributions of women.

Advocacy and Civic Engagement:

  • Roberts was actively involved in various civic and cultural organizations.
  • She advocated for the recognition of women's contributions to American history and society.


  • Cokie Roberts was admired for her insightful political commentary, historical expertise, and commitment to journalism.
  • Her books, especially "Founding Mothers," have been praised for shedding light on the often overlooked roles of women in shaping the United States.

Personal Life:

  • Cokie Roberts was married to journalist Steven V. Roberts, and they had two children.
  • She faced health challenges later in life, including breast cancer, but continued her work in journalism and writing.

Cokie Roberts passed away on September 17, 2019, leaving behind a legacy of journalistic excellence and a body of work that continues to inform and inspire readers interested in American history and politics.


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