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No Regrets: The Life of Marietta Tree

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In a society in which women were expected to take a backseat to men, Marietta Peabody was a rebel. Her first marriage, to Desmond FitzGerald, one of the founders of the modern CIA, failed ultimately because she was too independent and insisted on a career of her own. Of course, that she had met and fallen in love with Ronald Tree, an immensely wealthy and attractive member of the upper echelons of British society, also played a part in the breakup of her marriage. As the wife of Ronald Tree, Marietta was ...
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New York, NY 1997 Hard cover New in new dust jacket. NEW Has remainder mk on bottom edge. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 448 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: ... General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In a society in which women were expected to take a backseat to men, Marietta Peabody was a rebel. Her first marriage, to Desmond FitzGerald, one of the founders of the modern CIA, failed ultimately because she was too independent and insisted on a career of her own. Of course, that she had met and fallen in love with Ronald Tree, an immensely wealthy and attractive member of the upper echelons of British society, also played a part in the breakup of her marriage. As the wife of Ronald Tree, Marietta was introduced to British society but found that world somewhat too stuffy for her tastes. It was when she and Ronnie moved their base of operations from England to New York and Barbados, however, that Marietta's true strengths as hostess and confidante to the rich and powerful came to the fore. Using these talents, she developed a close alliance with Adlai Stevenson and worked tirelessly for him during his unsuccessful bids for the U.S. presidency. In gratitude, he arranged her appointment as U.S. delegate to the Human Rights Commission under the sponsorship of the United Nations. Marietta Tree's untimely death in 1991, of cancer, marked the end of an era. She was among the last of a small, select group of women - which included Pamela Harriman and Slim Keith - who helped define the new standards of American womanhood. Passionately involved in civil rights and Democratic politics, Marietta Tree harnessed her femininity, wit, and intelligence to the cause of public service, and in so doing, found the energy and strength to be a truly independent spirit.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The woman who emerges from this biography is a kind of classy Pamela Harriman—certainly not the image Marietta Peabody Tree, a minister's daughter and a Peabody of Massachusetts, envisioned for herself.

That the two would be compared is inescapable—both blossomed in the interval between the world wars, both chose first husbands who would lift them from an imprisoning lifestyle, both subsequently married money that set them on paths to personal fulfillment as US ambassadors (Harriman to France, Tree to the UN), and both had celebrated and affluent lovers. Seebohm (The Man Who Was Vogue, 1982, etc.) staves off these comparisons, offering instead a chronological narrative that depends heavily on Tree's glamorous appointment books. That includes the era when Tree's first husband, Desmond FitzGerald, was at war (WW II) and she was a researcher for Time magazine; she represented liberal labor on the Newspaper Guild and high society on the limousine- liberal party circuit, and had an affair with actor/director John Huston. She divorced FitzGerald, married Ronald Tree, whose money was in America and whose heart was in England. Their marriage lasted until he died, during which time she established herself in the inner circles of the Democratic Party (politics being always her first love) and began a relationship with Adlai Stevenson that lasted until he died, literally, at her feet. She was an absent—and perhaps envious—mother of two famous daughters, Pulitzer Prize winner Frances FitzGerald and supermodel Penelope Tree. She died in 1991 of cancer, whose progress she hid from all but Frances, as she continued to party and attend meetings until shortly before her death.

Too much emphasis on celebrity guest lists and the houses, dresses, and servants that money could buy override the very real courage that Tree and her generation demonstrated in demanding to lead their own lives.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780684810089
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 10/21/1997
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.55 (h) x 1.31 (d)

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