American Lady

American Lady The Fascinating Story Of One Of The Grand Dames Of Georgetown Society And A True Washington Insider Henry Kissinger Once Remarked That Agreements Were Concluded In The Living Room Of Susan Mary Alsop Than In The White House A Descendent Of Founding Father John Jay, Susan Mary Was An American Aristocrat Whose First Marriage Gave Her Full Access To Post War Diplomatic Social Life In Paris There, Her Circle Of Friends Included Winston Churchill, Isaiah Berlin, Evelyn Waugh, And Christian Dior, Among Other Luminaries, And She Had A Passionate Love Affair With British Ambassador Duff Cooper During The Golden Years Of John F Kennedy S Presidency After She Had Married The Powerful Journalist Joe Alsop Her Washington Home Was A Gathering Place For Everyone Of Importance, Including Katharine Graham, Robert McNamara, And Henry Kissinger Dubbed The Second Lady Of Camelot, She Hosted Dinner Parties That Were The Epitome Of Political Power And Social Arrival, Bringing Together The Movers And Shakers Not Just Of The United States, But Of The World Featuring An Introduction By Susan Mary Alsop S Goddaughter Frances FitzGerald, American Lady Is A Fascinating Chronicle Of A Woman Who Witnessed, As Nancy Mitford Once Said, History On The Boil

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[PDF / Epub] ☀ American Lady  By Caroline de Margerie –
  • Hardcover
  • 256 pages
  • American Lady
  • Caroline de Margerie
  • English
  • 23 October 2018
  • 9780670025749

10 thoughts on “American Lady

  1. says:

    This was a rather quick read, but then it s less than 200 pages not counting bibliography and index Susan Mary Alsop was a descendant of Founding Father John Jay She was born to wealth and privilege, but her relationship with her parents was distant She described herself as, I have been a distant, proper, efficient and rather unaffectionate daughter Susan Mary as she is constantly called throughout the book is something of a sphinx enigmatic and difficult to know The author does not help matters at all I had never heard of Susan Mary Alsop before I bought this book, and after reading it, I still don t know who she was The author fast forwards over her childhood The death of her older sister Emily, which was so traumatic for the family, is handled in less than two pages Susan Mary s meeting and courtship with her first husband, Bill Patten, is also sped through However, Susan Mary s affair with Duff Cooper is described page after page One gets the idea that this relationship and her second marriage to Joe Alsop were the most important things she ever did I m not going to list the many areas in this book that should have been expanded upon It should have been twice this length As it is, we get a summary of a life, not the story of a life Susan Mary remains aloof and oddly unemotional even when she should be emotional This is a shallow, oddly uninvolving biography I won t be reading anything else by this author.

  2. says:

    Another remandered gem from Family Dollar But, like others I wish the book had told us I suffer great envy from reading this book I always felt I should be part of Washington society a powerbrokering hostess Some of my fairly distant relatives were Georgetown elites from the early part of the 20th century up to the 1930s Too bad they died off before I could be shipped off to them I d not have minded being a minor light in Mary Alsop s world, though I couldn t tolerate the buffoons who have taken over Washington today Do they even have parties or are they too busy being stupid I think Mary was a good person, but suffered from passive aggressive tendencies Se also knew what was proper and expected so maybe that s it She was transgressive in her own fascinating way Keeping her son s parentage a secret from him was abominable, no matter what I see that he himself has written a book about it now, which I should try to find I really enjoyed the book, but I want to know about Mary, which may not be possible There were a lot of people mentioned in the book, many of whom I m familiar with,but they d pop up randomly, and I had no idea what her real relationship with her was with them I d recommend this book to anyone who wants to read about how Washington society used to operate Forgot I understand who Duff Cooper was and need to read up on him He shows up in a lot of reading, but I didn t get that he was so important or a chik magnet.

  3. says:

    Interesting to read about such a smart and elegant woman of such a different time I would have liked to understand her motivations deeply, though I am still wondering about her relationship with Duff Cooper It seemed so odd.

  4. says:

    Ever since I met her briefly in the early 1970s, I have been fascinated by the life of Susan Mary Alsop Who wouldn t be interested in a woman whose living room, according to Henry Kissinger, had agreements reached in it than were reached in the White House A descendent of both John Jay and Jacob Astor, Alsop was born in Rome and lived for some years in Argentina where her beloved older sister died Returning to the United States, Susan Mary was raised by a distant, preoccupied father who died early in her life and an unloving mother She married Bill Patten who was assigned to the American Embassy in Paris at the end of World War II and they lived in that city until Bill s death While in Paris, Susan Mary was a witness to what she called history on the boil and met the leading artistic, literary, political leaders of the time She also fell in love with Duff Cooper, the British Ambassador to France, and carried on a secret love affair with him until his death She had two children by Cooper and only revealed their paternity to her children when they were adults After the death of Patten, she married Joe Alsop, a childhood friend who was a leading journalist and a Washington power broker, even though he told her that he was a closeted homosexual Upon moving to Washington, Susan Mary was a leading figure in Georgetown society for over 40 years and after divorcing Alsop, she turned her hand to researching and writing several books of history that were well received by critics My only complaint about this book is that Susan Mary was so reserved about her feelings and so self contained that the reader comes away with the feeling that we now know what she did, but we never really got to know the woman herself.

  5. says:

    Susan Mary Jay Patten Alsop was a fascinating woman of the 20th Century intelligent, charming, rich, and able to converse with those in power in the U.S and Europe She is prototypical of a certain kind of woman, born before the notion of being liberated, but living a glamorous life privy to the secrets of many important men I was intrigued by this very paradox She could have done much on her own but chose to attach to men who in some cases and all in different ways were less adroit than she If there were a decided class system in this country, she would have been upper class, different from us in the way that fascinated F Scott Fitzgerald.I found the book to be well written and compelling, but am well aware many would be less interested in her as a person than I was I recommend it to lovers of history, and of lovers in history She occupies a unique niche in her time and place, akin to that of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Katherine Graham If women like that interest you, this book is a damn good read.

  6. says:

    This was a most interesting biography of a woman I knew nothing about She was the embodiment of American high society, with wealth and education and family background World history from the 40s through the early 90s A remarkable woman who made the best of her life, authored four books, raised responsible children, kept up with friends, entertained A glimpse into bygone days and manners I really enjoyed this book.

  7. says:

    Very entertaining.

  8. says:

    I think when reading this, one must keep in mind that it is translated from French It was interesting, but not amazing.

  9. says:

    French writer Caroline de Margerie has written a flat biography of a flat woman, Susan Mary Alsop Maybe it s the translation from French to English or the unexamined look at Alsop s life but this biography reads a bit like a biography written by a high school student The facts and dates are there, but there s very little analyzation of those facts.A few years ago, Alsop s son William Patten, the elder of her two children wrote a book called, My Three Fathers And the Elegant Deceptions of my Mother, Susan Mary Alsop The gist of the book was the fact that Bill Patten had, in effect, three fathers William Patten, Sr, was Susan Mary s husband and claimed fatherhood of young Bill, even though British diplomat Duff Cooper, was Bill s natural father The third father noted was Joseph Alsop, who Susan Mary married after Will Patten s death and who basically raised Bill That second marriage ended in divorce, though Joe and Susan Mary remained close friends after the divorce Maybe because ya had ta be there, Bill Patten wrote a much better biography of his mother than de Margerie has.Okay, why a biography of Susan Mary Jay Patten Alsop Descended from the important Jay family, Susan Mary was the surviving daughter of an American diplomat and his wife Her older sister died at the age of 15 from complications of an appendectomy performed in Buenos Aires No one told young Susan Mary what happened Emily Jay was there one day and gone the next and while a good biography does not have to be intensely analytical, de Margierie provides nothing about how her sister s death affected Susan Mary Just the facts death of sister , check, on to next fact about Susan Mary.After returning to the US, Susan Mary grew up in Washington and the coastal towns of Maine, and attended boarding school at Foxcroft in Virginia She made many important friends and married at an early age, William Patten He was a diplomat suffering from asthma kept him out of wartime military service and she joined him at the American Embassy after WW2 Cheating on Patten with the husband of her close friend, Diana Cooper, she became pregnant with Duff Cooper s son Another child a daughter, this time fathered by her husband followed and Susan Mary found life in Paris enthralling as an interpreter of history and politics to her friends both at home in the US and in France and England After William Patten s death, she moved back to Washington her children were by then in boarding schools and married Joseph Alsop Joe Alsop was gay, but friendly to Susan Mary, and he introduced her to the powers that be in the Kennedy administration She became important in both the social and diplomatic life of 1960 s Washington And although she divorced Joe Alsop, they remained dear friends and companions She died in 2002, having spent 20 or so years as a heavy drinker, okay, an alcoholic She did write a couple of history books and was an editor for Architectural Digest in the years before her death.Again I ask, why read a biography of Susan Mary Alsop Based on de Margerie s book, I can t think of a single reason IF you are interested in her life, better to read her son s book He manages to give a much better picture of his mother warts and all In this case, you really had ta be there

  10. says:

    I love vintage society biographies and this one is certainly satisfying The story of Susan Mary Alsop is one of the now mostly by gone American WASP establishment Born into a prominent family her father was a Jay , Susan Mary was born in Rome in 1918, where her father had as diplomatic posting, and lived in various other international capitals until in 1926 when her older sister died in Buenos Aires AFter that her father retired from the diplomatic service to become a wealthy American living on his investments in Washington, DC and Bar Harbour, Maine Susan Mary was educated at Foxcroft in Virginia after graduating from high school thought to be enough education for a girl , was a debutant made a suitable early marriage to a man who was not in good health, but came from an appropriate WASP background and who was also destined to be in the diplomatic corps.After World War II, the couple was posted to Paris where they remained until his death in 1960 In that time, Susan Mary established herself as a great hostess, seemingly knowing everyone even being parodied in two of Nancy Mitford s novels , and being accepted into high bound Parisian society She also had a years long affair with Duff Cooper, at that time the British Ambassador to France, who was apparently the great love of her life.After her husband s death she entered into a marriage of convenience with the columnist Joe Alsop, who was homosexual, mostly because he was an old friend she knew that with him, she d be close to the center of political power in the US After 12 not so satisfying years, they divorced and she embarked upon a new career an author and magazine writer She died in 2004.Reading this book reminded me that it was not so long ago that women received their power by being ornamental extensions of other men It also reminded me of how interconnected almost incestuous the old Establishment was Everyone went to the same schools, summered in the same places married each other The days of political salons and letters of introduction have long since passed, but it is still fascinating to read about them.

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