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We Are Our Mothers' Daughters: Revised and Expanded Edition 1 Exp Rev Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-10: 0061715921
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Like any journalist worth her salt, renowned news correspondent Cokie Roberts knows how to ask the tough questions. In We Are Our Mothers' Daughters, she poses what has long been a real doozy: "What is woman's place?" As you might guess, her answer is manifold, reflected by the table of contents, which reads like the Career Day schedule at a progressive girls' school: Sister, Politician, Consumer Advocate, Aunt, Soldier, First Class Mechanic, Friend, Reporter, Civil Rights Activist, Wife, Mother/Daughter, Enterpriser. Roberts makes no claims about this being groundbreaking research, or even an exacting investigation, rather, she explains that these are simply her own stories, and those of women she has come in contact with at different times and places in her life.

Having graduated from Wellesley College in 1964, Roberts explains that the women of her generation were pioneers in many ways--especially when it came to career and workplace issues: "We were the first women at almost everything we did, and most of us often had the experience of being the only woman in the room." Accordingly, many of her essays are political in nature: the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (which included "sex" as a prohibited discrimination category by virtual accident); the work of consumer advocate Esther Peterson; and the history of women in the military. But for Roberts, it's clear that the personal is political, and many stories, while not overtly activist--her older sister's death, her circle of female friends, and her experiences as a wife, mother, and reporter--reveal the importance she places on a united community of strong women. Using clean, compelling language throughout, Roberts compiles these different stories to reveal a thread of continuity running through the fabric of women, summarizing, "We are connected throughout time and regardless of place." She ends with a message of encouragement for young women--that we need only look as far as our foremothers for inspiration. --Brangien Davis, Amazon.com Kids Editor --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-Roberts, an NPR and ABC correspondent, has written a series of wide-ranging essays that are delightful to read, if difficult to classify. She gently leads readers from her sister's untimely death from cancer, through her early married years as an unquestioning follower of her husband's career, to historical vignettes featuring women as warriors, fighters for human rights, or entrepreneurs. In each of these selections, the author's voice is honest, and sometimes bewildered, as she attempts to fix upon what it is that women do and what it is they should be passing on to the next generation. Roberts discusses her grandmothers and eccentric aunts as well as her own daughter and her friends. She comments that her mother and mother-in-law were both under 50 when they became grandmothers, giving that relationship a long time to grow and change. Today's young women, waiting later to marry and have children, may miss this lively connection. These and other observations are indeed food for thought, and reading this slim volume gives mothers, daughters, aunts, sisters, friends, and other female relations much to think about. Many of the historical tidbits may tempt YAs to look further into the brief list of suggested readings. This is a fine vehicle for discussion or individual contemplation, giving both mothers and daughters new perspectives for viewing one another. Wonderful material for all ages.
Susan H. Woodcock, Kings Park Library, Burke, VA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 1 Exp Rev edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061715921
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,861,991 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By V. L. Wilson on April 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a gentle book of celebration. Cokie Roberts is an attractive lady from a large family of achievers. She shares part of her life story with the reader and writes valuable information in the form of essays, about amazing women past and present; many of whom we have not been aware of.
I thoroughly enjoyed this easy to read book. I recommend it as encouragement to all women especially those hiding their talents.
Mostly though, it is a reassuring book in that we women are reminded to appreciate each other, ever learning, ever discovering new ways to contribute, even if our best efforts go unnoticed for a time; willing to step back or go forward as the need arises, and always share the credits.
With all due respect to the author, I find the title to be unworthy of this fine book. I am my daughter's mother; some women have no daughters, some daughters have no mother to encourage them - anyway perhaps I haven't gotten the point. Do read this book, enjoy it, and give it your own title!
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Format: Paperback
I remember my mom telling me once that when she asked my grandfather for the money to take the college entrance exam he told her she should go to secretary school like all the other women. There was a time that women weren't allowed to seek their own destiny, be it successful stay at home moms or successful career women. I think my generation of women has forgotten about that and grown too comfortable with delegating our social and political responsibilities. I borrowed a copy of this book from a woman who is my mentor and bought a copy for my mom. But every woman my age and younger should read this so that they remember what came before us, and quite frankly as a career woman who still gets limited by my gender in the workplace, it is important to realize how far we've come and how far we still need to go. I didn't realize how good we have it, having lived on my own, bought my own cars and houses (the book talks about women not being extended lines of credit or losing lines of credit if their husbands died or divorced them --- as late as the 80s). The book has perhaps the best overall message that no matter what path you choose as a woman, what career or life choice, you have that choice now because of the women who came before us... our collective mothers. And it is our calling as daughters to make our mothers proud by not forgetting how valuable that choice is.
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Format: Paperback
Catchy title and format (every chapter is a different woman's role), but fails to deliver anything of real substance. Although this is not a true memoir, at times it reads like one. Some of the autobiographical sections are very interesting. Cokie comes from a privileged background. She grew up in a very educated family, and she had lots of contact with a very large and loving extended family. The second fact is not very common to find nowadays, and i read in envy. I think some people dislike reading about happy childhoods, and criticize anything that strays away from Angela's Ashes.
But i digress. Cokie talks about facts and people that i had never heard about, and to me that is the main benefit of the book. I plan to read the autobiography of Esther Peterson, for example. However, as interesting as some of these facts were, i don't think they can save the book.
What i found most annoying about the book is the crude generalization that takes place when she writes about how women are connected through time. Where did she find that soundbyte? It's hard to connect to women in their 50's who make $500,000/year if you are a 24-year old high-school dropout on welfare (and that's not even including race into the equation). Also, all that talk about women being superwomen is empty of any true value. While i have to admit it is admirable that her mother cooked the entire banquet for Cokie's wedding by herself while taking care of a toddler grandson and dictating a speech (i freak out when more than 4 people come over for dinner), not everybody is made that way. In fact it is very good that not everybody is so capable. Cokie herself admits defeat when she acknowledges how she has missed many important occasions in the lives of her children.
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Format: Hardcover
This book made me laugh out loud and made me weep. I have never seen such a thorough summary of the efforts of women in the past 150 years. Woven into this historical perspective is the story of a women who prizes her friends. We are biological daughters of the women who gave us life--but we are philosophical daughters of the women who made it possible for us to vote, to have a career, to own a business, to borrow money.
Cokie Roberts has ever so gently thrown down the gauntlet to all working women: someone made it easier for each of us--what are each of us doing to make it easier for those who follow us.
Read this book and ask yourself what you have done with your woman power.
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By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I found this book to be superficial.
Given the title, I was expecting some truly thoughtful observations which might help me understand others, and perhaps also experience some personal truths about my own mother-child relationships in a new way. Given the author's talent and intellect, I expected a provocative book. But the book, while pleasant enough, was mostly just a memoir and did not live up to its title. While I respect the author, I'm not sure I would have spent money for her biographical efforts.
I suspect this was quite meaningful for her --- but I was disappointed.
Mary Romeyn, author, Nutrition and HIV: A New Model for Treatment
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