American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop (2020)

American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop Caroline de Margerie Frances FitzGerald Christopher Murray American Lady The Life of Susan Mary Alsop 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
  • Title: American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop
  • Author: Caroline de Margerie Frances FitzGerald Christopher Murray
  • ISBN: 9780670025749
  • Page: 406
  • Format: Hardcover
American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop Caroline de Margerie Frances FitzGerald Christopher Murray 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 diplomaticThe 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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    Posted by:Caroline de Margerie Frances FitzGerald Christopher Murray
    Published :2019-08-11T15:29:48+00:00

One thought on “American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop

  1. Diane

    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 [...]

  2. Marley

    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 take [...]

  3. Claire

    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. Judy

    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 ea [...]

  5. Mary Timbes

    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 [...]

  6. Pat Lampe

    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. Jill Meyer

    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 Moth [...]

  8. Andie

    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 [...]

  9. Lisa

    Alsop had a rather sad childhood, traumatised by the loss of her beloved sister and father She also endured a judgmental mother But the wealthy and privileged debutante, descended from one of America s first families, fell in love at a young age with Bill Patten, and life changed when she married Patten and lived in Paris after the Second World War Here she went a Sabrina style transformation from a shy young woman to a popular and fashionable one, who was sought after for her opinions Dressed i [...]

  10. Carolyn

    Interesting biography of the popular Washington D.C hostess When the journalist Joseph Alsop proposed marriage he revealed to her that he was a homosexual, but they both loved the political life and were privy to important moments in history during the Kennedy years and beyond She had spent most of her young married life with her first husband in Paris, while he was attached to the American Embassy, and their circle included Churchill and other notables Susan Mary had a long affair with the appa [...]

  11. Kathleen Hanes

    Fast read covering much of the 20th century and the social political circles in which she operated as hostess with two husbands Upon re reading next AM felt I should add that she was great great great granddaughter of both John Jay and John Jacob Astor so had a head start on life However, the death of her sister, seven years her elder, had negative effects on her family and she became timid and withdrawn Graduated with honors from Foxcroft VA in 1935 and all education thensforth was from living [...]

  12. False

    I used to see her ex husband standing on his stairs on Dumbarton Avenue in Georgetown, Washington, D.C A tidy life with so much untidy underneath Parts of her life remind me of Edith Wharton s The Age of Innocence, and May, where at the end it is said of her how life s worries and upsets never touched her and no one had the heart to tell her the truths of the world, yet she herself possessed a steely interior to achieve what she wished to be a part of, the inner circle of inner circles She lived [...]

  13. Anne

    It started with my last three reviewed books and is turning into a historical bender This book is about Susan Mary Alsop I knew NOTHING about her, her husbands, her life etc While reading Americans in London , that story focused on London in wartime 1939 1945 Of course, France could not be left out of that story, and Susan Mary s life there at that time is, of course, interesting I loved this book for what it was a fascinating look into the lives and times of life and people in Europe during the [...]

  14. Robin

    A light and breezy account of a woman who was probably interesting than the book allows She certainly knew many of the interesting and influential people of her time and we learn that she had dinner with many of them, but we don t learn very much about what they talked about And we learn that her personal life seemed sad on many levels because of the seemingly poor choices she made about her life partners We also learn that her own accomplishments, other than being a highly successful hostess f [...]

  15. Kristen

    A lightweight biography packed with inane descriptions that belong in a cheap romance novel, such as, The love of the young and humble can assume heroic proportions, and gold fetes where young girls, voluptuous and innocent, danced with each other, and the pale light of dawn beckoned to bed Night was no longer the opposite of day Alsop led an interesting life, but this book sheds little light on her motivations, apart from avoiding boredom and seeking financial security It also fails to contrast [...]

  16. Forrest

    A glimpse behind the silk curtain of American high society Susan Mary led a life that few of us common folk could imagine having She was a debutante, participated in the high end dinners and salons of Paris after WWII and then went on to marry Joe Alsop and preside over the Georgetown social scene De Margerie does a good job of moving the story along with plenty of spice and detail Obviously, she spent a lot of time doing research This book is worth it for the insight into this level of society [...]

  17. Ann Aldrich

    The biography rarely dips below the superficial level, so it is difficult to understand why this woman is important and why we should care about her She was quite intellectual and well versed in politics during the Kennedy era After her marriage to Joseph Alsop collapsed, she became a writer of biography and architecture She was probably a fascinating woman, but the biography does not do justice to that.

  18. Anita

    What a life she led Wealth, privilege, travel, politicse really did have it all At least it looked as if she did I thought this book was fascinating and well written, it was translated from French and was very well done I did think the first part of her life was better covered than the second and I wish there were pictures I always think biographies should have lots and LOTS of pictures Other than that I really liked this book and could not put it down.

  19. Joanne

    Maybe if I were an expert in post WW2 history or Franco American relations, I d find this book interesting Alsop s husband was posted to the French embassy in Paris, and she quickly became a socialite there, meeting all sorts of Famous People at the time, and perhaps influencing international politics in between throwing parties and having an affair with the English ambassador It all comes off as an exercise in Who s Who and name dropping, and it s pretty dull.

  20. Patrick Riley

    While it sounds like Susan Mary Alsop had an interesting life and interacted with many interesting famous people, I was disappointed that the author never brings us very close to her as a person What was she like How did she feel What did she think For a biography, this was written with a pretty wide lens It read like journalism.

  21. Colleen

    I was bored her circumstances may have been different, but so many poor little rich girls came from that era Of course they met the right people, they traveled in the right circles She succumbed to temptations ordinary people face, and she was self absorbed enough to justify her behavior I stopped 3 4 of the way through, it was like reading a list of Who s Who.

  22. Jessica Kaufman

    truly a book that I just bought without really knowing who it was about A story about one woman with a very large, vast variety circle of friends and acquaintances Very interesting to read about all the parties, dinner gatherings and political meetings.

  23. Karen

    This book presents a interesting slice of history and politics I felt like history was brought to life, but the woman who was the subject of the book was not After reading this book, I know whole lot about Susan Mary Alsop s, but still very little about Susan Mary Alsop.

  24. Sara

    While I am not sure I liked it, I will give it three stars This book was a peek into a society I will never know much about and because of that I found it entertaining and interesting I can t imagine a world where infidelity is pretty much accepted, but this book makes it seem like it was.

  25. Annie Garvey

    I d like to read about Duff Cooper What was the attraction, beside power I ve read a few things about Lady Diana, Duff s wife Why would she put up the role as pimp for him No one can every understand another s definition of love.

  26. Rebecca Longsworth

    Just not a very nice person in many ways The second half felt very name droppy to me I m sure she was remarkable given the time she lived in but I found her self absorbed, pretentious and just not very nice I would not have wanted to be her child.

  27. Lesley

    Very fascinating look at Mrs Alsop I can t imagine knowing the people she knew so intimately and how much history she was so involved in.

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