Capital Dames: the Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868

  • Title: Capital Dames: the Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868
  • Author: Cokie Roberts
  • ISBN: 9780062002761
  • Page: 300
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Capital Dames the Civil War and the Women of Washington In this engrossing and informative companion to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting
    In this engrossing and informative companion to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history.With the outbreak of the Civil War, thIn this engrossing and informative companion to her New York Times bestsellers Founding Mothers and Ladies of Liberty, Cokie Roberts marks the sesquicentennial of the Civil War by offering a riveting look at Washington, D.C and the experiences, influence, and contributions of its women during this momentous period of American history.With the outbreak of the Civil War, the small, social Southern town of Washington, D.C found itself caught between warring sides in a four year battle that would determine the future of the United States.After the declaration of secession, many fascinating Southern women left the city, leaving their friends such as Adele Cutts Douglas and Elizabeth Blair Lee to grapple with questions of safety and sanitation as the capital was transformed into an immense Union army camp and later a hospital With their husbands, brothers, and fathers marching off to war, either on the battlefield or in the halls of Congress, the women of Washington joined the cause as well And women went to the Capital City to enlist as nurses, supply organizers, relief workers, and journalists Many risked their lives making munitions in a highly flammable arsenal, toiled at the Treasury Department printing greenbacks to finance the war, and plied their needlework skills at The Navy Yard once the sole province of men to sew canvas gunpowder bags for the troops.Cokie Roberts chronicles these women s increasing independence, their political empowerment, their indispensable role in keeping the Union unified through the war, and in helping heal it once the fighting was done She concludes that the war not only changed Washington, it also forever changed the place of women.Sifting through newspaper articles, government records, and private letters and diaries many never before published Roberts brings the war torn capital into focus through the lives of its formidable women.

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      Published :2019-05-23T16:50:10+00:00

    About Cokie Roberts


    1. Cokie Roberts is an American journalist and author She is the Contributing Senior News Analyst for National Public Radio as well as regular roundtable analyst for the current This Week with George Stephanopoulos.


    792 Comments


    1. I was fortunate to find Founding Mothers at a used sale, but this is the first Roberts I've actually read. I am hooked. I adore historical vignettes about women. Her books are perfect for me.

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    2. In this book Ms. Roberts looks at the Civil War through the eyes of the women who were affected by it, mainly political wives and daughters. While mainly the story of society of Washington D.C the author does include the stories of some of the not so well connected women in the Nation’s Capital. These stories include Clara Barton, who first came to Washington to be a clerk, Elizabeth Keckley – Mrs. Lincoln’s dress maker, and Rose Greenhow - one of the South’s most effective spies in the [...]

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    3. I received an uncorrected proof copy from HarperCollins. In Capital Dames, Cokie Roberts has provided an analysis of what it was like to be living in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War from the ladies' perspectives. This bird's eye perspective of a multitude of women's voice allows the author to shift seamlessly from the White House to the battlefields to tell the capitol's Civil War story in chronological order. The strength of this novel - it's multitude of voices - was also its weakness fo [...]

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    4. So often women are given short shrift in histories of the American Civil War. War, after all, even today, is a man's world. And with so much attention paid to the men of the political and military spheres, women don't tend to get much of a look-in. So it's refreshing to see an entire book devoted to the experience of women during the Civil War, even if it is specifically focusing on the women of one particular city.That said, I must confess to being disappointed with this book. Effectively, ther [...]

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    5. I've always thought that history tends to focus on men because the sexism of the past meant that men really were the only ones doing things. Both I and the male-focused histories have been very wrong! Capital Dames tells the story of the women in Washington during the Civil War and the many varied and important roles they played in that conflict. Women involved in Washington society continued to influence politics throughout the war, while other women took on new professions, from journalism to [...]

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    6. Roberts says she started writing the book in 2011 with the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. She says she started to wonder what impact the Civil War had on women’s lives.Roberts did extensive research including diaries, newspapers, government records and private correspondence. She narrowed her research to Washington D.C. and the women of the city.As in other wars women took on new roles such as becoming nurses, forming social service and relief agencies. Some wrote prop [...]

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    7. An interesting take on Civil War history, and one that I was surprised I hadn't really seen before. Most Civil War narratives centered around women's stories tend to rehash the archetypes of the Belle, the Nurse, the Abolitionist. This book includes women who fit those roles, of course, but also shows the stories of a lot of women who don't fit into such clear cut roles. I also particularly enjoyed the focus on Washington, DC, not only because I live near there myself, but because of its interes [...]

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    8. Caveat: I studied the Civil War in Washington, DC as an undergrad in DC, as a graduate student I wrote my "not!thesis" about antebellum southern female political journalists (including Anna Ella Carroll), so my knowledge of Civil War era women is pretty extensive. This is very much an add women and stir version of the Civil War in Washington, DC. It focuses on the wives, daughters, sisters and friends of the politicians of the day. The book starts with the general and then the next chapter focus [...]

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    9. Today's post is on Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington 1848-1868 by Cokie Roberts. It is 512 pages long in notes and is published by HarperCollins. The cover is an art piece with a party of top and the Capital building under the title. The intended reader is someone who is interested in history, women's history and the Civil War Era. There is no sex, some mild language, and no violence in this book. The story is told mostly through first person resources like journals, newsp [...]

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    10. 4,5 Very fascinating book, a true learning experience as well as totally enjoyable and readable. I've ever admired Cokie Roberts as a journalist, a "classy dame", and now as an author. Describes the roles various women played in Washington D.C. from 1848 to 1868, the period leading up to Lincoln's election as President, then his presidency and reelection, and the course of the Civil War. I was amazed that women could be so pivotal in steering political events in their day. Admired such women as [...]

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    11. A book about some of the most influential women of the Civil War. I like the idea but I found it somewhat difficult to read. Roberts obviously researched extensively but there are so many facts and individual short stories that it didn't really flow into a easy-to-read story for me. I didn't get a chance to know one person before it was on to the next one or three or more! I would have preferred a focus on fewer women. It was difficult to keep up with so many at once plus their husbands, brother [...]

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    12. This is was a really interesting look at the women of Washington, D.C. before and after the Civil War. Covering ladies who would go on to represent both the Union and the Confederacy, this book really showed how the Civil War changed lives, for better and for worse. It actually goes into more detail than what I was expecting about the Civil War, almost to the point to where I was like "can we get back to the ladies?". But I would still say this is a good historical perspective on women's role du [...]

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    13. I'll be the first to admit this review is much too long. (You should see how much I cut!) But CAPITOL DAMES offers so much interesting material that I wanted to provide a really tempting preview as an appetizer. There are countless books about the Civil War era. Most of them are very good and interesting. Why should someone want to read another one? Because in CAPITOL DAMES Cokie Roberts is not providing more history; she is offering herstory. And the different perspective adds a lot to the his [...]

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    14. Wonderful and insightful book on the women of Washington before, during and directly after the Civil War. It has now spurred me on to read more about these dynamic and amazing women! A must read for Civil War buffs too as it provides a unique window into the world of politics on both sides through the women who lived during those times.

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    15. I've read a lot of Civil War and Presidential history, but I learned new stories here. Really enjoyed the fresh approach of looking at events through women's eyes. Lots of in-depth research in letters and government archives is woven skillfully into the narrative. I listened to this on audio, with the author narrating, which was a great.

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    16. a little harder for me to follow as i was not as familiar with all the family names and politicians. Roberts again provides a,different perspective to history, introducing the audience to many different players and people.

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    17. loved this book! so many more women I need to know more about! ❤❤

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    18. This book was a Mother's Day gift from daughter Anne. It has taken me about a month to read it. I have read other books to take a rest of this one. Capitol Dames is not an easy read. It requires a great deal of thought. Roberts has done a meticulous job of researching the lives and roles that the women of the Union and Confederacy, including the First Ladies Mary Lincoln and Varina Davis. This is a very thorough study of literary, political, and activist women along with their husbands and other [...]

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    19. Similar to her Founding Mothers, Roberts follows a group of women before, during, and after the Civil War. The women are wives and daughters of politicians and military men, movers in Society, and professional women who contributed to and lived through a major time in our history. Some names are familiar, ie Clara Barton, Dorothea Dix, Mary Todd Lincoln and Dolly Madison; some have familiar surnames, ie, Chase, Adams, Davis, and Fremont; and some were new to me. I enjoyed learning about them and [...]

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    20. As others have noted, Cokie Roberts sets out to tell the under explored story of women living in Washington during the Civil War. Roberts retelling of this story seems largely focused not on the accomplishments of women during the war—advocating for causes, dealing with health and sanitation issues, working as spies, and working in the government. Rather, this is a disappointing, gossipy book about who wore which dress better at what event. Yes, this is taken from the diaries of women living i [...]

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    21. As always when I read a book by Cokie Roberts, I thoroughly enjoyed it. She writes about compelling women in an extremely readable, pleasant manner. I learn something on every page and have fun doing it. Her journalistic integrity presents each of her topics with clarity and without bias, and in a book about the Civil War era, it is difficult not to appear to "take sides". Mrs. Roberts presents both positive and negative information about each of these women. The many quotes from their contempor [...]

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    22. I wavered between 3 and 4 stars here. I go with 4 because it is important that stories of women like these are heard. I would have appreciated footnotes, but there is an extensive bibliography at the end. To be sure, this is mostly a story of women who are married/related to political men and how they wield their own power. There are stories of other women interlaced- Keckely, Truth, Dix, Alcott, but at its heart it is a story of the politically-connected women and how they shaped DC (and the co [...]

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    23. Cokie Roberts is my new favorite author. A history book about women written by a woman? Sold. I learned so much about the women of the Civil War from listening to this book. Where are the statues and monuments for these women? Why did I grow up only hearing about the men from this era? Clara Barton and Elizabeth Keckley were my two favorites. Kate Chase Sprague was so easy to dislike. I highly recommend this book!

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    24. Cokie Roberts never disappoints, but this book is especially good. The vignettes of these "behind-the-scenes" women of Civil War-era Washington DC are masterfully woven together into an engaging story. Better than a good read, it's a great listen, with the author reading her book to you. The epilogue, is as good as the rest of the book, especially Ms Roberts' reflections on her own family history.

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    25. Very interesting and well-written non-fiction book about a number of different women who were involved publicly and behind the scenes in the political events in Washington D.C. around the time of the Civil War. The author quotes from the womens' letters, diaries and newspaper articles from the time. Highly recommend.

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    26. Interesting coverage of significant figures during the Civil War. Roberts provides a glimpse into their lives, the social structure of that period, political significance, and the outcome of their efforts after the war.

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    27. Fascinating book detailing the influence of women before, during, and shortly after the Civil War.

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    28. For some reason, Cokie Roberts' history books are slower reads for me, even more than some other non-fiction. Not sure what it is. However, that said, I also find them interesting reads.

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    29. Maybe it's due to living near DC, but I enjoyed it a great deal.

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    30. Way too much detail. Some parts were interesting, but skimming was the order of the day.

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