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An intimate and revealing portrait of America’s most memorable first daughter
Alice Roosevelt Longworth lived her entire life on the political stage and in the public eye, earning her the nickname “the other Washington monument.” In this new biography—the first in twenty years—Stacy A. Cordery presents a detailed and richly entertaining portrait of the witty and whip- smart daughter of Teddy Roosevelt.
“Princess Alice” was a tempestuous teenager. Smoking, gambling, and dressing flamboyantly, she flouted social conventions and opened the door for other women to do the same. Her husband was Speaker of the House Nicholas Longworth but—as Cordery documents for the first time—she had a child with her lover, Senator William Borah of Idaho. Alice’s political acumen was widely respected in Washington. She was a sharp-tongued critic of her cousin FDR’s New Deal programs, and meetings in her drawing room helped to change the course of history, from undermining the League of Nations to boosting Nixon. During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, her legendary salons were still the center of political ferment.
With new insights into Teddy Roosevelt, and for everyone who delights in Washington history and gossip, Alice is a fascinating portrait of a woman who influenced American politics for nearly a century.
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Stacy A. Cordery is a professor of history at Monmouth College. She is the author of Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern and the official bibliographer for the National First Ladies’ Library.Review:
“A fine biography of America's ultimate -- and eminently quotable--bad girl. Stacy Cordery has fixed Alice Roosevelt Longworth on the page in all her vibrant color.”
—Stacy Schiff, author of A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America and Vera [Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov] winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“With her unprecedented access to Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s correspondence, Stacy A. Cordery has recreated a vivid picture not only of the woman who was for a time America’s princess, but also of the American Century. Meticulously researched and recounted in lively and evocative prose, Alice sheds new light on TR’s White House, the growth of the modern cultures of celebrity and teenage rebellion, the backroom politics and social skirmishes of the nation’s capital, and inter-war isolationism and postwar anti-Communism. At the center of it all sits the inimitable Mrs. L, that other Washington Monument, whose life, loves, enthusiasms and losses Cordery illuminates with a subtlety never before possible. Alice is as delightful as it is eye-opening to read.”
—Amanda Smith, editor of Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy
“A superb biography of one of twentieth century America's most interesting and significant figures. At its best political biography explores the ways in which an individual's psychology, circumstance, education, and experience affect and reflect public life. In this graceful, insightful chronicle of the life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Washington's incomparable ‘Mrs. L,’ Cordery has done just that.”
—Randall Woods author of LBJ: Architect of American Ambition
“Stacy Cordery takes us far beyond the popular caricature of Alice Longworth as a self- centered, malignantly-witty hellion. Marshaling previously untapped family archives, this stunning new biography paints a complex, vital portrait of the brilliant first-daughter who, despite tragedies, cut a large and confident swath across nearly a century of American history.”
—Edward J. Renehan Jr., author of The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War
“At long last, Alice Roosevelt Longworth has the biography that she has needed. Her life reads like a Cinderella story, except that the stepmother became one of her best friends as well as severest critics, Prince Charming turned out to be something of a rotter but able and loyal in his own bizarre way, and a rough diamond of a lover hovered in the wings and fathered her only child. With insight, sympathy, a critical eye, and prodigious research, Stacy Cordery has produced a portrait of America’s one true political princess and one of the most important and fascinating women ever in the country’s public life..”
—John Milton Cooper, Jr., E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions
“Finally—a biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth that presents her in full and takes her seriously as a player in Washington politics across seven decades and thirteen presidencies. Admirably researched, perceptive, and as much fun as Mrs. L herself, Alice adds scope and depth to our understanding of Washington's mores, the inner workings of the American political machine, and the endlessly captivating clan from which she came.”
—Patricia O’Toole, author of When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House and The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends
“I can’t remember the last time I so enjoyed a biography—and learned so much. Stacy Cordery has painted a wondrously vibrant portrait of one of America’s most complicated and intriguing woman, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt, cousin of Franklin and Eleanor, wife of the Speaker of the House, lover of the Senator from Idaho, columnist, wit, political savant, Republican booster, and the most esteemed Washington hostess of her era, Alice has been missing from our history books for far too long. Our thanks to Stacy Cordery for bringing her back, center stage, where she belongs.”
—David Nasaw, author of Andrew Carnegie and The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst
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