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Mother of Our Country

   With the recent upswing in biographies about the Founding Fathers (commonly referred to as simply “The Founders” for the purposes of political correctness) it is both unusual and exciting to find a book featuring a Founding Mother. But the reasons to read Patricia Brady’s Martha Washington: An American Life go far beyond its novelty. This is probably one of the finest biographies I have read in recent years. Dr. Brady has taken a name we all know and revealed a fascinating woman we have never known much about. Resilient, funny, charming, and shrewd, Martha Washington was influencing and supporting the revolution and the new nation in ways we have been woefully uninformed about. Dr. Brady erases the old grandmotherly image we erroneously hold in our minds and shows us a savvy businesswoman, a lover, and a dedicated patriot. Beyond the revelation of Lady Washington, the book gives a fuller picture of George Washington himself, and fills the pages with fascinating details about life in the late 18th and early 19th century.

     After most biographies I find that I know far more about the author and their opinions than I do about the actual subject.  This book is different.  Patricia Brady has left herself almost completely out of the book. She lets Martha Washington’s life and letters speak for themselves. If I can find any fault in this book, it would be that it slows down at they very end, but even this is in keeping with the life of Martha Washington after her great love, George, passed away.

     If you are in a bookstore and you see this book alongside Cokie Roberts’ Founding Mothers, put Cokie back on the shelf and take Martha home.



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