Synopses & Reviews
An intimate and revealing portrait of Americas 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 biographythe first in twenty yearsStacy 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 butas Cordery documents for the first timeshe had a child with her lover, Senator William Borah of Idaho. Alices political acumen was widely respected in Washington. She was a sharp-tongued critic of her cousin FDRs 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.
"'The fiercely intelligent eldest daughter of President Teddy Roosevelt (1884 1981) was rebellious and outspoken partly as the result of her desperation to gain the attention of an emotionally distant father, according to historian Cordery. Utilizing Alice's personal papers, Cordery describes how she was more devastated by the political infidelity of her husband, House speaker Nicholas Longworth, during the 1912 presidential election (he sided with Taft over TR) than by his sexual dalliances. Her own affair with powerful Idaho Sen. William Borah resulted in the birth of her only child, Paulina. When her beloved father died in 1919, the stoic Alice simply omitted it completely from her autobiography, and she was a poor mother to Paulina, who died in 1957, at 32, from an overdose of prescription medicines mixed with alcohol. Alice's independence of mind often led her against the grain: she worked to defeat Wilson's League of Nations and was a WWII isolationist and America First activist. Her witty syndicated newspaper columns criticized FDR and the New Deal, and she betrayed her cousin Eleanor by encouraging FDR's liaison with Lucy Mercer Rutherford. Cordery (Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern) pens an authoritative, intriguing portrait of a first daughter who broke the mold. Photos.' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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 Longworths correspondence, Stacy A. Cordery has recreated a vivid picture not only of the woman who was for a time Americas princess, but also of the American Century. Meticulously researched and recounted in lively and evocative prose, Alice sheds new light on TRs White House, the growth of the modern cultures of celebrity and teenage rebellion, the backroom politics and social skirmishes of the nations 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 Americas one true political princess and one of the most important and fascinating women ever in the countrys public life..
John Milton Cooper, Jr., E. Gordon Fox Professor of American Institutions
Finallya 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 OToole, 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 cant remember the last time I so enjoyed a biographyand learned so much. Stacy Cordery has painted a wondrously vibrant portrait of one of Americas 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
andquot;A biography that fully captures its dynamic subject and her greatest accomplishment.andquot;
andquot;Stacy Cordery's engaging portrait . . . paints a charming picture of Daisy as a warm-hearted force of nature.andquot;
andquot;Cordery . . . has written a detailed and well-researched book. She shows Low to be a strong woman ahead of her time.andquot;
andquot;Of the three books pegged to the Girl Scouts' 100th, the most engaging by far is Stacy A. Cordery's Juliette Gordon Low. Ms. Cordery gives us the unexpurgated lifeandmdash;one that might make you want to shield the eyes of the nearest Brownie Scout but one that also lends depth and color to the American Girl Scouts founder's story. Ms. Cordery uses a wealth of historical detail to animate both an era and the author's flawed, sometimes exasperating but generally appealing subject. . . . The merit badge here goes to Stacy Cordery's biography.andquot;
andquot;Cordery's extensive biography fully explores the complex and intricate life of Low.andquot;
andquot;This biography brings to life the woman whose efforts galvanized an entire nation of young women. 'Long Live Girl Scouts!' may be the cry on readers' lips after finishing this tribute to a spirited and inspirational American leader.andquot;
An intimate and revealing portrait of Americas most memorable first daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, this biography presents a detailed and richly entertaining portrait of the witty and whip-smart child of Teddy Roosevelt.
An entertaining and eye-opening biography of America?s most memorable first daughter
From the moment Teddy Roosevelt?s outrageous and charming teenage daughter strode into the White House?carrying a snake and dangling a cigarette?the outspoken Alice began to put her imprint on the whole of the twentieth-century political scene. Her barbed tongue was as infamous as her scandalous personal life, but whenever she talked, powerful people listened, and she reigned for eight decades as the social doyenne in a town where socializing was state business. Historian Stacy Cordery?s unprecedented access to personal papers and family archives enlivens and informs this richly entertaining portrait of America?s most memorable first daughter and one of the most influential women in twentieth-century American society and politics.
Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette andquot;Daisyandquot; Gordon Low struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with being true to her adventurous spirit. Accidentally deafened, she married a dashing British patrician and moved to England, where she quickly became dissatisfied with the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, and was inspired to recreate his program for girls.and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; The Girl Scouts of the USAandmdash;which can now count more than fifty-nine million American girls and women among its past membersandmdash;aims to instill useful skills and moral values in its young members, with an emphasis on fun. In this lively and accessible biography of its intrepid founder, Stacy A. Cordery paints a dynamic portrait of an intriguing woman and a true pioneer whose work touched the lives of millions of girls and women around the world.
About the Author
Stacy A. Cordery is chairman of the history department at Monmouth College in Illinois and is the author of Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern. She is the bibliographer for the National First Ladies’ Library. This is her third book.