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Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence

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The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict. The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict. The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling to maintain a modicum of normalcy as husbands, brothers and fathers died. Yet Berkin also reveals that it was not just the men who fought on the front lines, as in the story of Margaret Corbin, who was crippled for life when she took her husband’s place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth. This incisive and comprehensive history illuminates a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence.


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The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict. The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing The American Revolution was a home-front war that brought scarcity, bloodshed, and danger into the life of every American. In this groundbreaking history, Carol Berkin shows us how women played a vital role throughout the conflict. The women of the Revolution were most active at home, organizing boycotts of British goods, raising funds for the fledgling nation, and managing the family business while struggling to maintain a modicum of normalcy as husbands, brothers and fathers died. Yet Berkin also reveals that it was not just the men who fought on the front lines, as in the story of Margaret Corbin, who was crippled for life when she took her husband’s place beside a cannon at Fort Monmouth. This incisive and comprehensive history illuminates a fascinating and unknown side of the struggle for American independence.

30 review for Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America's Independence

  1. 5 out of 5

    Joy D

    Carol Berkin examines the roles women played in the American Revolutionary War. She looks at their contributions through the lens of allegiance, class, and origin. The book is well-organized into groups involved in the war, such as active participants, camp followers, generals’ wives, spies, and exiled women. She looks at the Revolution from the viewpoints of English, American, and even Hessian women. She reserves separate chapters for informative stories of tribal and enslaved women. She articu Carol Berkin examines the roles women played in the American Revolutionary War. She looks at their contributions through the lens of allegiance, class, and origin. The book is well-organized into groups involved in the war, such as active participants, camp followers, generals’ wives, spies, and exiled women. She looks at the Revolution from the viewpoints of English, American, and even Hessian women. She reserves separate chapters for informative stories of tribal and enslaved women. She articulates the fears and challenges these women faced. They transcended their traditional roles – which were severely restrictive from a modern standpoint. Many women took over the running households and properties, and some descended into poverty and starvation. She relies on letters, diaries, news articles, and published material from the time period and cites all sources. I very much enjoyed reading about these women. This book offers are more well-rounded picture of the people and culture of Revolutionary times.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    I'm giving this three stars to applaud Berkin for bringing these women and their stories to light. However, I wasn't thrilled by the presentation, There is a lot of room for bringing this exciting era and these women to life. Unfortunately, Berkin's prose and the organization of her material seems hamstrung by her academic background. It is more readable than most academic tracts, but still flat and workaday. If she had only trusted the women's own words from their letters and diaries to give us I'm giving this three stars to applaud Berkin for bringing these women and their stories to light. However, I wasn't thrilled by the presentation, There is a lot of room for bringing this exciting era and these women to life. Unfortunately, Berkin's prose and the organization of her material seems hamstrung by her academic background. It is more readable than most academic tracts, but still flat and workaday. If she had only trusted the women's own words from their letters and diaries to give us a flavor of their personalities, she could have livened things up a lot. She fails, also, to paint an evocative picture of the physical conditions they had to endure.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robert Krenzel

    This is a well-researched book that explores an oft-misunderstood aspect of the American Revolution: the role of women. It first covers pre-war norms, then looks at how the war affected women, and how women affected the war. It looks at various aspects of society, patriot and loyalist points of view, and the impact on slaves and Native Americans. The writing is a bit dry, but it is a quick read, and makes a valuable contribution to ones understanding of Revolutionary America.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin Kepka

    At the end of the read, which I did for a class, I was very pleased, to the point that I wanted to write a review. I skimmed thru some other reviews...my mistake: 'it is too dry, too short, too oddly organized, didn't have enough this or that.' Hum. I suppose each review or critique has room for personal opinion, so here is mine. This was a well researched and laid-out recap of the role that women, as a whole and individually, played in a war. It does not depreciate the men while it promotes the At the end of the read, which I did for a class, I was very pleased, to the point that I wanted to write a review. I skimmed thru some other reviews...my mistake: 'it is too dry, too short, too oddly organized, didn't have enough this or that.' Hum. I suppose each review or critique has room for personal opinion, so here is mine. This was a well researched and laid-out recap of the role that women, as a whole and individually, played in a war. It does not depreciate the men while it promotes the women in history, which was important to me. Berkin tells of all sides, including different ages, races, nationalities and political points of view, in painting a broad picture of the wartime in a relatively short book. In my opinion, the thrust of this book was not to encompass every detail, or it would be a huge relic, but to show the often overlooked impact of women in (a specific era of) history. Her academic background and quotes from specific primary sources are exactly what endeared me to this text. I have done research and I know that she had to have spent hours to weave this book together. If you are interested in this period of history, the book would be a great jumping off point, so to speak, to find details to further investigate. If you are interested in the advancement of women, in and through the founding of this nation, this would give a good picture of the perceptions of pre-and postwar American societal views. If you are interested in a celebration of what American women in early history accomplished and a reminder of the legacy they have left behind to spur us on to political activity now, I would suggest Revolutionary Mothers.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    A fascinating glimpse into the lives of many women at different levels of society during the Revolutionary War. The first few pages were a bit dry and difficult to get through, but once I was past them, I was hooked. I greatly enjoyed hearing the many stories of heroism performed by the women of the era, be they patriot or loyalist. These women proved that they were every bit as invested in the events of the era as their fathers, husbands, and sons. Even though they were denied many of the same A fascinating glimpse into the lives of many women at different levels of society during the Revolutionary War. The first few pages were a bit dry and difficult to get through, but once I was past them, I was hooked. I greatly enjoyed hearing the many stories of heroism performed by the women of the era, be they patriot or loyalist. These women proved that they were every bit as invested in the events of the era as their fathers, husbands, and sons. Even though they were denied many of the same basic rights that men took for granted, they still had their ways of becoming involved in the issues of the day. An excellent look at a group so often overlooked by history.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heidi'sbooks

    This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be mini-biographies of women who helped in the American Revolution. But, instead it is a book about changing women's roles before, during, and after the war. The book covers the roles of prominent women, poor women, African American women/slave women, and Native American women--and it even talks about the role of British women. There are real life examples to prove the point being made. I'm not sure what to rate this--3.5? 4? This book was not what I expected. I thought it would be mini-biographies of women who helped in the American Revolution. But, instead it is a book about changing women's roles before, during, and after the war. The book covers the roles of prominent women, poor women, African American women/slave women, and Native American women--and it even talks about the role of British women. There are real life examples to prove the point being made. I'm not sure what to rate this--3.5? 4?

  7. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Noe

    Very much an overview of women's roles during the Revolutionary War. I learned quite a bit about the lives of native women and loyalists, as well as those who followed the army. I loved that they left the references in the book - often times when books like this one are published for the masses, they omit the references. Though, this was obviously meant for a more general audience than someone like me with a masters in history. Still very enjoyable and was perfect for my vacation reading. Very much an overview of women's roles during the Revolutionary War. I learned quite a bit about the lives of native women and loyalists, as well as those who followed the army. I loved that they left the references in the book - often times when books like this one are published for the masses, they omit the references. Though, this was obviously meant for a more general audience than someone like me with a masters in history. Still very enjoyable and was perfect for my vacation reading.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

    This was more like a long essay review on the role of women in the Revolutionary War. This was an easy read, made palatable for those outside the academic realm, but not anything to rave about. However, it made me want to seek out the diaries and sources she cited which is always a good thing. Some of her biographical vignettes had me looking them up for more information. So, it's a good start but maybe not one you need. This was more like a long essay review on the role of women in the Revolutionary War. This was an easy read, made palatable for those outside the academic realm, but not anything to rave about. However, it made me want to seek out the diaries and sources she cited which is always a good thing. Some of her biographical vignettes had me looking them up for more information. So, it's a good start but maybe not one you need.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Griffith

    Very good! My favorite part was the story of Frederika Charlotte Loiuse von Massow, the Baroness von Riedesel from Wolfenbuttel. I must do some research on her. We have friends from Wolfenbuttel, which is a mid-size town in Germany.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DragonMyBooks

    It would have been so great to have read a book like this for my high school history classes. I never knew how much women were involved in the Revolution and its outcome until I read this. A fantastic read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Miranda

    What a fantastic book! I’m in awe. The things women endured and the sacrifices they made during revolutionary times amazes me. If you are a history buff and want to learn more about women during this time I highly recommend this book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kirstin Dobson

    4.5 actually It is a short and sweet overview of women during the Revolutionary War. Different than I expected just because it covered all groups, was more British supporting, and more generalized than detailed. I mostly liked that, though. A little more story-like would be my only suggestion.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Asta Schmitz

    It started off dull, then I got into it and it alternated between interesting and fascinating. I want to know more about the native American women who had a decisive voice within their communities in the 1770s. What a contrast with the enraging sexism of white society of the same era. I tend to avoid reading about America's founding fathers because of their mindblowing hypocrisy. A bunch of slaveholders saying they want liberty and justice for all when actually they went to war to secure those t It started off dull, then I got into it and it alternated between interesting and fascinating. I want to know more about the native American women who had a decisive voice within their communities in the 1770s. What a contrast with the enraging sexism of white society of the same era. I tend to avoid reading about America's founding fathers because of their mindblowing hypocrisy. A bunch of slaveholders saying they want liberty and justice for all when actually they went to war to secure those things only for themselves. The book gives some examples of their behaviour: Thomas Jefferson sending condolances instead of congratulations to a father at the birth of his female child. John Adams talking down to his wife when she writes him letters to not forget women (married women's legal status at the time was that of a child or insane person) when drawing up the American constitution. He wrote back saying he would certainly leave out women, couldn't have, you know, a revolution overthrowing the system. This book certainly moved me and it's food for thought (also in relation to current discussions about moslim societies and their use of religion as a justification for gender discrimination. It illustrates how that is not a new or exclusively non-western concept.)

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kate Lawrence

    The author's recounting of Revolutionary War-era women's experiences is organized clearly in a way that helps the reader keep each woman's story straight: each chapter looks at women who came from a particular race or class. Examples are generals' wives, Indian women, African American women, camp followers, etc. Only a few women are profiled in each chapter, and their stories are told in their own words, quoted from letters and diaries, as much as possible. Also included are beginning and ending The author's recounting of Revolutionary War-era women's experiences is organized clearly in a way that helps the reader keep each woman's story straight: each chapter looks at women who came from a particular race or class. Examples are generals' wives, Indian women, African American women, camp followers, etc. Only a few women are profiled in each chapter, and their stories are told in their own words, quoted from letters and diaries, as much as possible. Also included are beginning and ending chapters on what women's lives were like before and after the War, what expectations governed the freedoms they had or lacked, and what changes came about because the War had made women's courage, endurance and heroism plain to all. The book is suitable for a wide readership--not just history nerds or women's studies specialists--because detail is kept within reasonable limits, and overall length is only 160 pp. An excellent introduction to this period of women's history.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Brown

    Nerd alert - I love this book. It was not an easy read - the author uses a lot of detail and dates and intellectual language that often caused me to get lost in the middle of a sentence. It's a college-level history book, and that's what it's written like. Which is a shame because the information is super interesting and a more engaging presentation could have reached a wider audience on a really important topic. She shows little to no bias in relaying the good, bad, brave, and ugly on every sid Nerd alert - I love this book. It was not an easy read - the author uses a lot of detail and dates and intellectual language that often caused me to get lost in the middle of a sentence. It's a college-level history book, and that's what it's written like. Which is a shame because the information is super interesting and a more engaging presentation could have reached a wider audience on a really important topic. She shows little to no bias in relaying the good, bad, brave, and ugly on every side of the American revolution, especially as it related to and affected the women of every race and social class in the era. It's the stuff they didn't teach you in U.S. History class. If you are a history geek or have a passion for women's issues (and you can deal with the academic style of writing) I recommend this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rose Kelleher

    A good overview, but I was hoping for more primary sources. Of course that's a problem whenever you're writing about women, whose names have traditionally been written in invisible ink. But if you can't find a contemporary letter or newspaper article about, say, Sally St. Clair, or Deborah Champion, you ought to at least say so in a footnote, and explain why you believe her story is true, and not just a composite character like Molly Pitcher, or a fictional heroine dreamed up by a Victorian writ A good overview, but I was hoping for more primary sources. Of course that's a problem whenever you're writing about women, whose names have traditionally been written in invisible ink. But if you can't find a contemporary letter or newspaper article about, say, Sally St. Clair, or Deborah Champion, you ought to at least say so in a footnote, and explain why you believe her story is true, and not just a composite character like Molly Pitcher, or a fictional heroine dreamed up by a Victorian writer. Berkin presents their stories as documented fact, but when you follow up on the footnotes, you find another modern historian, who quotes another modern historian, and so on.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Berkin does an admirable job in showing the actions of not only white patriot and loyalist women, but those of African and Native American women on both sides of the cause as well--something I haven’t come across before. I don’t recall studying anything but the patriots’ side in school, and being an American many years removed from the Revolutionary War, I tend to forget that there were plenty of everyday folks from all backgrounds who were staunchly loyal to the crown and were horrified at the Berkin does an admirable job in showing the actions of not only white patriot and loyalist women, but those of African and Native American women on both sides of the cause as well--something I haven’t come across before. I don’t recall studying anything but the patriots’ side in school, and being an American many years removed from the Revolutionary War, I tend to forget that there were plenty of everyday folks from all backgrounds who were staunchly loyal to the crown and were horrified at the treasonous actions of their neighbors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    A fantastic short book focusing on women during the American Revolutionary period of history. Carol Berkin is one of the top authors of the period, and I really enjoyed this look into the many roles women played from many different backgrounds (economically and ethnically). There were no real deep biographies of any specific women of the period, but the stories of many women were returned to and flushed out. This is an important book for students of the time period to read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Melissa (ladybug)

    Really good. The author tells us the story of the women during the Revolutionary War. Both loyalist, Patriot and even British women. I loved this about the book. We are able to get a view of both sides of the problem. I was lead to understand the issues and the feelings of both sides of the war.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    This was my text for my Women in the Revolutionary War class, taught by the author. It is readable, fascinating, well-organized, and full of stories that blew my mind. It was a pleasure to read, and I learned a ton.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Haspel

    Revolutions are not made by men alone, as Carol Berkin makes clear in her book Revolutionary Mothers. This study of the American Revolution is distinctive in its focus on Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence. Berkin, a professor of American history at Baruch College, provides a thoughtful look at the roles that women from a wide variety of backgrounds and classes played during the Revolutionary War. Starting with a consideration of the place assigned to women in the English colonial s Revolutions are not made by men alone, as Carol Berkin makes clear in her book Revolutionary Mothers. This study of the American Revolution is distinctive in its focus on Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence. Berkin, a professor of American history at Baruch College, provides a thoughtful look at the roles that women from a wide variety of backgrounds and classes played during the Revolutionary War. Starting with a consideration of the place assigned to women in the English colonial society of pre-revolutionary America, Berkin chronicles the active manner in which women participated in the protest against England’s colonial policies during the years after the end of the French & Indian War. Once the war had properly begun, with “the shot heard ’round the world” and the battles of Lexington and Concord, women on the home front faced the difficulties and the potential horrors of a home-front war, as a variety of portions of the new United States faced occupation by British military forces while thousands of husbands were away at war, fighting with the Continental Army. Other women followed the Continental forces into war, sharing the privations of life on active campaign. One Boston woman, seeing these brave women following the army, noted sympathetically that these “great numbers of women…seemed to be the beasts of burthen, having a bushel basket on their back, by which they were bent double” (p. 50). The implication is clear: without the tough, unglamorous work of these women, American independence could not have been won. The wives of leading Continental generals may not have endured the same degree of privation that ordinary women did, but they too faced separation from loved ones, as well as the social dislocation that all wars cause. Decades before becoming the first First Lady of the United States, Martha Washington left the comforts of Mount Vernon and followed her husband George to the winter encampments at Valley Forge and Morristown; while admitting that “I shudder every time I hear the sound of a gun,” Martha Washington nonetheless insisted that “I endeavor to keep my fears to myself as well as I can” (p. 70). It is good that Berkin considers all the varieties of women’s experiences during the American Revolution. Loyalist women who held on to their allegiance to the Crown often faced exile – many to England, but most to Canada, and particularly to the Atlantic provinces like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where bitterly cold weather and unsettled living conditions caused some loyalist women to refer to their new Canadian home as “Nova Scarcity” or “the roughest land I ever saw” (p. 104). The picture of women’s history during the Revolutionary War becomes further complicated when one considers the situation of Native American and African-American women. Along with the question facing all Native Americans during the Revolutionary era – “what alliance would benefit them as a third party to the dispute?” – Native American women in particular, many of whom lived in age-old tribal nations where women’s wisdom, strength, and political leadership were valued, would find that with American victory in the Revolution, “their social roles would be dramatically changed and their power within their communities diminished” (p. 107). African-American women meanwhile faced the choice between supporting an American cause that involved the continuation of the cruelty and horror of slavery, or backing British forces that made promises of liberty – promises that were sometimes kept and sometimes not – for African Americans who joined with the British side. Phillis Wheatley, the great African-American poet, responded to the racism of her time by reminding the readers of her poetry of all people’s equality before God: “Remember, Christians, Negroes, black as Cain,/May be refin’d, and join th’ angelic train” (p. 131). Wheatley gained her liberty from a Massachusetts slaveholder, but her situation was far from typical. American freedom from British tyranny came with Lord Cornwallis’s surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. But for African-American women, and men, to gain their own freedom from slaveholders’ tyranny, it would take four score and seven years, and another bloody and terrible war. Overall, the picture of women’s roles in the American Revolution that emerges in the pages of Revolutionary Mothers is an inspiring one. As spies and saboteurs, as soldiers in disguise, as couriers, as camp followers, as maintainers of the home front, they followed their consciences and served their causes well. And in the process, they conveyed a message of human equality that was not fully heeded for many years after. Many will have read Abigail Adams’s ringing 1776 words in a letter to husband John Adams, a revolutionary leader who would one day become the second president of the United States: “I long to hear that you have declared an Independency…and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire that you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all men would be Tyrants if they could” (p. 157). Inspiring words – “Remember the Ladies.” Sadly, it would be 144 years between Abigail Adams’s writing of those words and the 1920 ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment that recognized women’s right to vote throughout the United States. Today, women still face a variety of inequities in American life, from unequal pay for equal work to “glass ceilings” in many careers and professions. As of the writing of these words, women have served as head of state or head of government for 71 internationally recognized nations – but notably absent from that list is the United States of America. A reading of Revolutionary Mothers might do much to remind many of the work that women did to make the existence of this nation possible, and to provide a further reminder of the work that remains to be done in building a more perfect union for all American citizens, regardless of gender.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I really enjoyed this book. This was an overview of how the life of women was impacted by the American Revolutionary War. It's divided thematically and provides an overview of the plight of the rich, the poor, loyalists, Native Americans, slaves, as well as the Hessians who fought for the British Army. I found that chapter absolutely fascinating. I think so much of what we read (and I am obviously speaking to my own experience here) about the Revolutionary War is a rehash of Adams, Franklin, and I really enjoyed this book. This was an overview of how the life of women was impacted by the American Revolutionary War. It's divided thematically and provides an overview of the plight of the rich, the poor, loyalists, Native Americans, slaves, as well as the Hessians who fought for the British Army. I found that chapter absolutely fascinating. I think so much of what we read (and I am obviously speaking to my own experience here) about the Revolutionary War is a rehash of Adams, Franklin, and Washington over and over. So it was incredible to see these first hand accounts that I'd honestly not known existed. I do wish she presented more material directly from them instead of paraphrasing, but I understand why that was done for the flow of the book. Recommended if you're interested in early American feminism or Revolutionary history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    So, I read this the same weekend that I had a full-on spiritual awakening watching Hamilton for the first time. It's not that this is a bad book. It's just that I felt the kind of joy I assumed went away with childhood and can no longer learn about foundational Americans in any other format besides mega-inspirational theatrical rap fusion. Revolutionary Mothers uses the stories of several key women involved in the American Revolutionary War to demonstrate the gendered nature of warfare and how wo So, I read this the same weekend that I had a full-on spiritual awakening watching Hamilton for the first time. It's not that this is a bad book. It's just that I felt the kind of joy I assumed went away with childhood and can no longer learn about foundational Americans in any other format besides mega-inspirational theatrical rap fusion. Revolutionary Mothers uses the stories of several key women involved in the American Revolutionary War to demonstrate the gendered nature of warfare and how women's participation ultimately dictated gender roles in the new United States. Traditional, masculinized forms of warfare were glorified, but civilian actions (performed mostly by women) had just as profound an effect on political outcomes. Most history enthusiasts are probably aware of stories of "camp followers," nurses, and the occasional female combatant or spy. Berkin explores how these roles were both vital and undervalued, but she also shows how everyday lives were just as relevant to what was happening on battlefields. Women who stayed home were suddenly responsible for managing and protecting farms, businesses, property, and financial concerns, along with their domestic duties and childcare. On all sides of the conflict, women were weaponized through sexual violence and terroristic destruction. Many feminized domestic activities also become forms of activism or were critical to maintaining troops' health, hygiene, and morale. The book also demonstrates how enslavement and colonization were manipulated to extract labor, military service, and alliances from black and indigenous people. For women, the new United States turned out to be not so revolutionary. White men quickly reclaimed political authority and relegated women to being the teachers and influencers of new American values. Black women who were free were totally excluded from white gender norms and so tended to develop black civil society; enslaved women found themselves trapped in a more deeply entrenched and brutal system of slavery. As with the previous Carol Berkin book I read, the post-war fate of indigenous women is (inexcusably) left unexamined, but I’d hope we all know that the new nation only intensified the genocidal effects of colonization. I also read Carol Berkin's book First Generations, and this book doesn't feel as inclusive or as robust. Instead of using real women's stories as a lens for analyzing a wide variety of experiences, Revolutionary Mothers tends to retell these stories in plain language. Most of the women are genuinely fascinating and deserving of historical scholarship, but most of them felt exceptional and not representative of a typical woman of the era. I also really disliked how the book was organized by archetypes of women, rather than region (as First Generations was). I think this is a real detriment. It confuses the chronology of events, and it shut out the diversity of experiences I enjoyed in her other book. With all that said, this time period had many fascinating and meaningful ways for women on all sides of the conflict to engage in political life. I think reading about any one of these experiences or women would make for a richer understanding of the war itself and the ways in which women have always contributed much more than they've been given credit for doing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Wisteria Leigh

    Much praise is given to Carol Berkin for this important addition to our American Revolutionary War history shelves. It is a fascinating history of women that may surprise some readers and raise questions for others. Often overlooked and forgotten, the women who lived and died while the struggle for our independence was fought are recognized in REVOLUTIONARY MOTHERS: WOMEN IN THE STRUGGLE FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE. Some may be surprised to learn that Martha Washington and many other officers wiv Much praise is given to Carol Berkin for this important addition to our American Revolutionary War history shelves. It is a fascinating history of women that may surprise some readers and raise questions for others. Often overlooked and forgotten, the women who lived and died while the struggle for our independence was fought are recognized in REVOLUTIONARY MOTHERS: WOMEN IN THE STRUGGLE FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE. Some may be surprised to learn that Martha Washington and many other officers wives accompanied their husbands in battle. British and Hessian officers adopted a temporary substitute wife, while the average soldier, had numerous women to pick from the hoards of camp followers who tagged along. What Berkin points out is that it was only natural for women to follow men into battle, because men needed someone to care for them. Whether to do laundry, cook, nurse the sick or carnal pleasure, the men were better soldiers with their women along, and their leaders knew it. Whether the women were involved in actually fighting, which they were or travelling along side their spouse, women of all races had numerous roles to satisfy. Chapters detail the various roles women played in Colonial Society and during and after the war. There were those who were left home, others who followed, some were General’s wives, or loyalists in exile, Indian Women, African American Women and many women became spies or couriers. This book evokes a penchant to read more about forgotten and omitted women who have historical relevance. The endnotes and bibliography offer a place to begin. Readers will no doubt recognize famous men from this war, but those who find it difficult to name any famous women, will devour with fervor, REVOLUTIONARY MOTHERS: WOMEN IN THE STRUGGLE FOR AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michaila

    Revolutionary mothers taught me so much I did not know, and would never have known, about the many women of the Revolutionary War. I think what inspired me the most in the end was not necessarily the brave heroism, but the women who endured all this with humility and compassion. It is rare to find not just women but humankind in general who are so selfless as some of these amazing women were, who asked no recognition of themselves but continued as they had to care for their families in faith. Th Revolutionary mothers taught me so much I did not know, and would never have known, about the many women of the Revolutionary War. I think what inspired me the most in the end was not necessarily the brave heroism, but the women who endured all this with humility and compassion. It is rare to find not just women but humankind in general who are so selfless as some of these amazing women were, who asked no recognition of themselves but continued as they had to care for their families in faith. They broke a way for modern day women as intellectuals with rights. These women were truly the trailblazers who defied stereotypes, not for themselves but for the safety of their families. Unfortunately the repetitive narrative in this book annoyed me. I was hoping for more letter and journal excerpts and less description of current times. This book had many, very graphic details. The first chapters are the most violent and I would not recommend this to anyone over 16. It was hard to read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    Carol Berkin has written an accessible, interesting book that widens our sense of who drove the American Revolution and what they were fighting for. From spies to farmers, black slaves to Mohawk Indians, Berkin highlights the story of women whose lives during the revolution are often unknown or ignored. As the subtitle points out, Berkin doesn't limit her analysis to women who fought for the patriot cause, or whose allegiances were even clear in a patriot-British fight. Rather, she's looking at Carol Berkin has written an accessible, interesting book that widens our sense of who drove the American Revolution and what they were fighting for. From spies to farmers, black slaves to Mohawk Indians, Berkin highlights the story of women whose lives during the revolution are often unknown or ignored. As the subtitle points out, Berkin doesn't limit her analysis to women who fought for the patriot cause, or whose allegiances were even clear in a patriot-British fight. Rather, she's looking at women in the struggle, rather than women who worked for the struggle. Her thesis (though mostly implicit) seems to be that these women weren't just revolutionaries, but they were, indeed, mothers of future revolutions. The path they trod in the 1770s and 80s set the stage for changes in social mores for decades to come. I'd have liked to hear more about this idea, but that's a minor quibble with a very good work.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    Very, very well done. I love how Berkin shares so many of the countless stories that, had they not been recorded in personal journals and letters and handed down, would have been lost to time and our historical proclivity toward the patriarchal. I also applaud Berkin for stepping out of the usual bounds with respect to the truth as lived and experience by non-white women. She has, in essence, rescued many heroic women from obscurity - regardless of race, religion, or ideology - and rightfully so Very, very well done. I love how Berkin shares so many of the countless stories that, had they not been recorded in personal journals and letters and handed down, would have been lost to time and our historical proclivity toward the patriarchal. I also applaud Berkin for stepping out of the usual bounds with respect to the truth as lived and experience by non-white women. She has, in essence, rescued many heroic women from obscurity - regardless of race, religion, or ideology - and rightfully so.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    This was very interesting! I appreciated that the author did her best to show as many sides of the war as possible instead of focusing solely on the women on the side of the Patriots. There were also Loyalists, Native Americans, slaves, and free Blacks featured. Nothing was glossed over - there was no pretending that the Patriots were all saints and the British devils. I think it's more respectful of the women whose lives are being shown if the truth of what they had to suffer (slavery, rape, vi This was very interesting! I appreciated that the author did her best to show as many sides of the war as possible instead of focusing solely on the women on the side of the Patriots. There were also Loyalists, Native Americans, slaves, and free Blacks featured. Nothing was glossed over - there was no pretending that the Patriots were all saints and the British devils. I think it's more respectful of the women whose lives are being shown if the truth of what they had to suffer (slavery, rape, violence) is acknowledged.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leah Cossette

    An excellent and informative little book about women of the Revolutionary era. The book mostly consists of American women's stories, with chapters divided by how they contributed to history (as writers, spies, camp followers, etc.) though there are separate chapters for Loyalist women, Native American women, and African American women. I consider myself to know a lot about women's history, and yet I was pleased to find several historical figures in this book that I had never heard of. The book i An excellent and informative little book about women of the Revolutionary era. The book mostly consists of American women's stories, with chapters divided by how they contributed to history (as writers, spies, camp followers, etc.) though there are separate chapters for Loyalist women, Native American women, and African American women. I consider myself to know a lot about women's history, and yet I was pleased to find several historical figures in this book that I had never heard of. The book is simply written, and though it's an adult book, it could easily be given to a child to peruse.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy Gideon

    Studies the activities and place of women during the American Revolutionary War. I especially liked hearing about women's experience through their own writings and words. This book goes further in also exploring marginalized voices like Native Americans, enslaved black women, and free black and biracial women. Women's voices tend to get erased from history, and even more so for women of color, so it was nice change to see history from their point of view. The chapters on women spies was also eng Studies the activities and place of women during the American Revolutionary War. I especially liked hearing about women's experience through their own writings and words. This book goes further in also exploring marginalized voices like Native Americans, enslaved black women, and free black and biracial women. Women's voices tend to get erased from history, and even more so for women of color, so it was nice change to see history from their point of view. The chapters on women spies was also engaging as well. Side note - the more I learn of John Adams the less I like him.

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