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

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

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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143114277
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/30/2008
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 608
Sales rank: 311,431
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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.

Table of Contents

Preface vii Roosevelt Family Tree xvi Chapter 1 "It Was Awfully Bad Psychologically" 1 Chapter 2 "Sissy Had a Sweat Nurse!" 21 Chapter 3 "Something More Than a Plain American Girl" 43 Chapter 4 "I Tried to Be Conspicuous" 62 Chapter 5 "Frightfully Difficult Trying to Keep Up Appearances" 83 Chapter 6 "He Never Grew Serious About Anything" 99 Chapter 7 "When Alice Came to Plunderland" 115 Chapter 8 "To Bask in the Rays of Your Reflected Glory" 139 Chapter 9 "Alice Is Married at Last" 162 Chapter 10 "Mighty Pleased with My Daughter and Her Husband" 179 Chapter 11 "Expelled from the Garden of Eden" 199 Chapter 12 "Quite Marked Schizophrenia" 219 Chapter 13 "Beating Against Bars" 238 Chapter 14 "To Hate the Democrats So Wholeheartedly" 256 Chapter 15 "Hello, Hello, Hello" 287 Chapter 16 "The Political Leader of the Family" 328 Chapter 17 "An Irresistible Magnet" 349 Chapter 18 "The Washington Dictatorship" 370 Chapter 19 "I Believe in the Preservation of This Republic" 398 Chapter 20 "Full Sixty Years the World Has Been Her Trade" 418 Chapter 21 "The Most Fascinating Conversationalist of Our Time" 450 Epilogue 476 Acknowledgments 485 Notes 491 Selected Bibliography 555 Index 573

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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. 21 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.
briandrewz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fascinating portrait of one of the countries first "celebrities". Not only was she the daughter of charismatic president Theodore Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt Longworth was one of the most famous society ladies of her day. This book gives us fascinating incite into the life of a woman with whom the public was enamored.
Yahdley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great bio that illuminates the 20th century from unusual angles. She had a fine mind but little formal education -- one wonders what she might have accomplished otherwise, what changes intellectual fulfillment might have brought about in her often hateful character. An excellent look at "insider politics".
michigantrumpet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Hungry for more after finishing Edmund Morris¿ three volume opus on Theodore Roosevelt? This biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Teddy¿s eldest child might just be the ticket for you (and for those interested in the DC insider politico world.) Alice inhabited the White House through her rebellious adolescence ¿ TR famously stated "I can either run the country or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both." She went on to marry a Congressman and bear a Senator¿s lovechild. Cordery writes engagingly, and often wittily ¿ several times I burst out laughing. A few quibbles: 1) I felt Cordery overstated her case for Mrs. L¿s political significance. She was a raconteur with a wide circle of influential friends and acquaintances. I would have loved to think she was moved and shook Washington, but I don¿t buy that wit and good press copy necessarily equates with true power. 2) I¿m always troubled by biographers who engage in armchair psychoanalysis. Cordery alleges Alice was emotionally scarred by `abandonment¿ (her mother¿s death in childbirth, and her father¿s placing her with a beloved aunt until the age of three.) Was it so unusual for late Victorians, particularly of TR¿s social class, to be hands off in childrearing? If `abandonment¿ was of such psychological importance, why did TR¿s death ¿ the ultimate abandonment ¿ merit half a paragraph -- rarely to be mentioned again? While the book itself was well researched and evocative of time and place, ultimately I found myself as repulsed by its subject as I am by modern era narcissistic celebrities. Egomaniacal to a fault, Alice Longworth wore her disdain and malevolence to others openly. Nevertheless, readers will find plenty of gossip in these pages about a DC icon whose sofa¿s embroidered pillow read: "If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me."
janw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"We've come a long way baby!" Alice along with Emily Posts: Daughter of the Gilded Age gives a pretty good picture of life for a privileged few at the turn of the century. Alice Roosevelt like Mrs Post could have followed social class limitations and expectations for women in their positions and today been unknowns. Alice pushed against the political establishment and demanded to be heard. She lived her life to the fullest and it was a great pleasure to read about it. Both Emily Post and Alice Roosevelt Longworth were stuck and expected to stay with philandering husbands. Alice however took full advantage of both her father's and her husband's position but it is because of her own vivacious personality that we are reading about her today.. The importance of family wealth and class position in the early 20th century is very clear in the lives of both women. Emily Post pushed her way into the world of work rather than the world of politics and social activities. Imagine both strong women were initially against giving women the right to vote. It is wonderful to immerse yourself in the colorful times of the 20th century but you realize it would not be so great to be living them as a middle or lower class woman. Alice was well worth the effort although as she slows down in later life so does the book. An unexpected benefit of reading the full tomb was that it really prepared me for my visit to the Idaho capitol building last summer.
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.