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My Three Fathers: And the Elegant Deceptions of My Mother, Susan Mary Alsop
     

My Three Fathers: And the Elegant Deceptions of My Mother, Susan Mary Alsop

by Bill Patten
 

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Bill Patten grew up in the heart of privileged society to American parents—a debutante mother, a diplomatic father—stationed in Europe. Weekends away from his English boarding school were often spent at the regal country estates of important policy makers and historical figures of the mid-twentieth century. When Bill was twelve years old, his father,

Overview

Bill Patten grew up in the heart of privileged society to American parents—a debutante mother, a diplomatic father—stationed in Europe. Weekends away from his English boarding school were often spent at the regal country estates of important policy makers and historical figures of the mid-twentieth century. When Bill was twelve years old, his father, William Patten, died, and his mother remarried the renowned columnist Joe Alsop. Patten was swept into Washington during the Kennedy years, where he bore witness to his stepfather's legendary power-brokering, and watched a very different father figure at work.

In 1996, when he was forty-seven years old, Bill Patten learned that his biological father was not William Patten, but the noted English diplomat, Duff Cooper. In this quest to know his triumvirate of fathers, Bill Patten offers an unforgettable memoir. My Three Fathers is a search for identity—and a luscious chronicle of a fascinating, bygone era of American aristocracy.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Patten, a real estate developer and former Maine newspaper publisher, was born into a prominent and successful family. This is the intensely personal story of his surprising search to fully know his identity. He begins in 1995 with his discovery, at age 47, that the man he was named after and considered his father was not actually his biological father. His natural father was Duff Cooper, the British Conservative cabinet minister, who died in 1954. Patten then tells of how, with this knowledge, he began to look at his own life anew; at the many lives of his mother, a descendant of John Jay; and, ultimately, at the three men with whom his mother was most involved and who shaped his life. By means of his own memories, family letters, and newspaper reports, he pieces together a newly understood personal history. His early years, with the man he believed to be his father, were spent as the privileged namesake of an American diplomat. Bill Patten Sr. died when Patten Jr. was just 12; his mother then married renowned columnist Joseph Alsop. In the Alsop household, young Patten was swept up in the political and social life of Washington during the "Camelot" years of the JFK presidency. Overall, this is a fascinating journey through the author's life, illuminated by personal photographs and told against the backdrop of the larger events of the era. Recommended for all public libraries as well as large undergraduate libraries.
—Lisa A. Ennis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781586485559
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
06/30/2008
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

Meet the Author

Bill Patten is a businessman with thirty years experience in real estate development. From 1978 to 1996 he published weekly newspapers in Maine. He has three children, two stepchildren, and three grandchildren. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts, with his wife and stepdaughter.

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