Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker

Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker

3.8 15
by Stacy A. Cordery
     
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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. (Oct. 22)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Jonathan Yardley
In a country that professes to repudiate royalty but has a soft spot for it anyway, Alice Roosevelt was a princess if not a queen.
The Washington Post
Library Journal

Notorious for her acerbic wit, political acumen, and occasionally outrageous behavior, President Theodore Roosevelt's illustrious daughter, Alice, enjoyed a long life (1884-1980) at the center of American politics and foreign affairs. Her roles as presidential daughter and later as the wife of powerful Republican Congressman Nicholas Longworth placed her at the heart of the capitol's social life, where she wielded remarkable political influence. She actively opposed Wilson's League of Nations, disdained the New Deal politics of the "other" Roosevelts (FDR and Eleanor), and joined the isolationist America First Committee prior to America's entry into World War II. Her checkered personal life included extramarital romances, most notably with Sen. William Borah, who apparently fathered her only child, Paulina, born when Alice was 40. Cordery (history, Monmouth Coll.; Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern) undertook exhaustive research for her new book, referring to newly discovered letters and diaries not available to earlier researchers. Thus, her work should quickly take its place as the most complete biography, surpassing James Brough's Princess Aliceand Carol Felsenthal's Alice Roosevelt Longworth. Highly recommended for all academic libraries and appropriate for public libraries with strong political history collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ6/15/07.]
—Linda V. Carlisle

Kirkus Reviews
Frank, thoroughgoing life of Teddy Roosevelt's oldest daughter, wife of the Speaker of the House, witty Washington hostess and blistering critic of FDR. Cordery (History/Monmouth Coll.; Theodore Roosevelt: In the Vanguard of the Modern, 2002) fully utilizes the personal papers of Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884-1980), frequently inserting entries from her diary and letters to provide startlingly intimate material. Alice's life was ill-starred at the start. Her birth killed her mother, TR's beloved first wife, on the same day that his own mother died. Subsequently, Teddy ignored Alice, who spent much of her childhood and adolescence trying to capture his attention. By the turn of the century, with TR installed in the White House, Alice enjoyed a spectacular coming-out, embarking as a young celebrity on forays into the world and politics. To gain more independence (and spending money), she married an unsuitable, much older man. Ohio Congressman Nick Longworth was also a philanderer and a hard drinker, but Alice was his match in travel, entertaining and campaigning. Alienated by Nick's affairs and his decision to back Taft rather than her father in the decisive campaign of 1912, Alice teamed up with Idaho senator William Borah, a fellow opponent of Woodrow Wilson and the League of Nations. They became lovers in 1919 and together rode the heady years of the '20s under Harding, Coolidge and Hoover; Cordery accepts as fact the widely held belief that Borah fathered Alice's daughter Paulina, though she was still married to Nick when he died in 1931. Alice's public drubbing of the New Deal and cousins FDR and Eleanor solidified her reputation as the leading political wit in Washington. ButCordery declines to be distracted by bon mots, cogently employing a plethora of detail to get at the character behind the hot air. A rigorous portrait of a woman of strong opinions who surely should have run for office herself. Promises to revive the old dame's reputation.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440629648
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/30/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
106,054
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet 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.

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Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
hamptonguy5 More than 1 year ago
I remember seeing this book released over a year ago and at that time it did generate some thought on my part. The thought being, perhaps one day I might browse this book to see what it was like. I read a great deal of non-fiction, including biographies, history and political science. What prompted me to read this book was that I had just finished reading David McCullough's Mornings on Horseback. After finishing that fine gem, I realized that I should read Alice. I am glad that I did. The author did a thorough job in her research and has compiled it in an enjoyable and thought provoking way. Alice Roosevelt lived a remarkable life, spanning 96 years. And what a 96 years they were. The writer captures the spunk, wisdom, intelligence and tenacity of someone, who in her younger years was a true princess. The author also presents, in detail, that side of Alice Roosevelt that dealt with those things that were not discussed or not even permitted in her time; items such as a women's rights, a love-less marriage, marital affairs and the untimely death of children. The author also sets the era (late 1800s and early 1900s) with a very discerning eye so that the reader is able to appreciate the setting of this book. She provides significant detail on the entire Roosevelt clan/dynasty that intrigues the reader. Alice Roosevelt was a true political junkie that earned the respect and admiration of many Washington power players. If Alice Roosevelt was a man, she would have been elected to public office for sure. A very good read and one that I would recommend.
TOverton More than 1 year ago
I enthusiastically recommend "Alice." To several of my business customers and just over the past weekend to a sister residing in Cinn., Ohio I suggested this as one they could trust me they would enjoy. I feel that women particularly will find curious moments of surprises here. Before selecting this to read I learned of Alice R. Longworth in two other books I read this year, "Nellie Taft" and "FDR, Traitor To His Class." Mentions of her in those two books beckoned me to learn more about her. Honestly I had not a clue who she was. I recall now hearing her name on WCBS 880 AM radio New York in the 1970's. She certainly was one loaded pistol. Lived to be 96, she knew all US Presidents from Cleveland to Jimmy Carter and knew people who were in Lincoln's cabinet. Who else can top that? She was first cousins with Eleanor Roosevelt whom she treated with only formal courtesy, and that remained strained to their end. I find it particularly respectable when an author does not write in his or her political position when covering a biography about political figures. Alice R. was no doubt Republican to her last atom in her body. There is humor at times in Cordery's book. I laughed and even felt bedazzled occasionally. Alice refused baptism, her comments about certain others were without restraint; Florence Harding, Eleanor of course, FDR, Nellie Taft, Dick Nixon. And then her insistance about smoking, those "itches", and the need to hide her affair by using codes in her communications. That was about all that she tried to hide, her husband did not care to hide his. Well, you will not be sorry you've started to read "Alice." It will go and go. Oh, I must mention the history in these pages. There is never a better time to learn more history than now and tomorrow. Now and always. This book will tell you a few things. Want to know a little about this or that that you knew nothing about before; the Phillipines, WWII, her father TR, life in D.C. during a different age (what a teenager of her status did then). By the way, Alice was self-taught educationally. Buy and read this.
DVBWalker More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because I like history. This book is history from a different perspective. It gives a good history timeline and story line. It's interesting to read (watch) the transformation of Roosevelt's daughter into a Washington power broker.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alice is beautifully researched and well written. Cordery has done her subject justice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very much enjoyed the book. Fiction can not compete with true stories like this. It has a little bit of everything. Well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a good sequel to Edmund Morris's trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. But it seemed that the two final chapters, post-1952, described a period where, for all that Alice was a national icon she was largely irrelevant as a mover and shaker in the national sphere. So I was personally confused whether the author was actually writing about Alice Longworth, or about herself and superimposing her own viewpoints onto Alice in those final chapters.
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If u like TR youll like this book too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cordery did a great job of covering the politacal scene of the time, but unless you are really into knowing every fine detail of the personages, you will find that 481 pages is much too much.