“Ladies of Liberty”   by Cokie Roberts

Ladies of Liberty is the story of the amazing wives of the first presidents and other women who had considerable political savvy.  They were able to influence their husbands to do the things that needed to be done for a better America on both the political and social level.
Roberts researched the story from their hand written notes and letters that were found in libraries and historical societies.
The Ladies were able to gather information about the public pulse finding what was needed for our country by meeting with the public, by having teas then passing the concerns on to their husbands.  Dolly Madison especially was known for her ability to be a great hostess.
They saw the need for starting orphanages for the children in the streets and relief for the poor widows with children.  Abigail Adams was a social Activist for the Poor.  Education of women changed the roles of women to be educators and writers and started a push for women’s rights to participate in politics, attend public meetings write letters, and express their views.
Education for the women during war emphasized a need for mothers to raise “Virtuous Citizens for the New Republic”.  They started orphanages bought buildings to use to train widows to teach, to run soup kitchens and they petitioned city councils and legislators to support training of seamstresses, weavers and tailors
Abigail Adams endured the family tragedy of a daughter dying of breast cancer and son dying from alcoholism.  She raised her grandchildren and took in others and all the while being her husband’s advisor, confidant and hostess.
Cokie Roberts has done a fantastic job of compiling information about these exceptional ladies.  Her writing keeps you riveted to the story line, wondering what else could these ladies accomplish.  I would consider this a fascinating read especially if you enjoy history.

Review by Gail Palmer

“Same Kind of Different As Me”  by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

This is a true story of redemption, reconciliation, love, faith, hope and all other promises and privileges that belong to God’s people.  The story is centered in the interwoven lives of three very diverse people: Ron Hall, a successful and wealthy art dealer; his wife, Deborah, who has a mind of her own in touch with God; and Denver Moore, a down and out, even dangerous, homeless black man.  How they are brought together, in spite of their diversity, and what follows is the wonder of this story.

Denver Moore, himself, summarizes his experience, as a kind of epitaph for “Miss Debbie.”  “You was the onlyest person that looked past my skin and past my meanness and saw that there was somebody on the inside worth savin.  I don’t know how, but you knowed that most a’ the time when I acted like a bad fella, it was just so folks wouldn’t get too close.  I didn’t want nobody close to me.  It wasn’t worth the trouble.  Besides that, I had done lost enough people in my life, and I didn’t want to lose nobody else.”  Read the story for an inspiring and challenging call to mission and service, even to the least of these.

–book review courtesy of Wes Haugen