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 daughterFrom 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… See more details below

Overview

An entertaining and eye-opening biography of America’s most memorable first daughterFrom 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.

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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:
153,508
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

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