Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor” as Want to Read:
Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor

3.32 of 5 stars 3.32  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A new biography of Nancy Astor, American socialite and social crusader who blazed a trail through British society amid two World Wars

In 1919, Nancy Astor became the first female Member of Parliament elected to the House of Commons—she was not what had been expected. Far from a virago who had suffered for the cause of female suffrage, Lady Astor was already near the center
ebook, 400 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 1st 2012)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Nancy, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Nancy

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,086)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nick Turner
Inspiring biography of the first woman to take a seat in the British Parliament. I listened to an abridged audio adaptation in five parts read by Anna Maxwell Martin, and abridged by Alison Joseph.

Viscountess Astor

Born in 1879, hers was a fascinating life: from straitened beginnings in the Civil War-ravaged Deep South of America, to marriage into one of the world's richest families, to a straight-talking campaign conducted door-to-door in one of the most deprived areas of Plymouth which brought her a political
What a wonderful book. I came to this book with only scant knowledge of Nancy aka Lady Astor. The main source of my knowledge was a book I'd read by her loyal maid Rosina Harrison called "Gentlemen's Gentlemen" which focussed on British butlers and which extensively featured Edwin Lee who was Lady Astor's head butler for most of her life in England. From that book all I had gleaned was that she was an American, who had relocated to England, and become an aristocratic woman of power and social si ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
This book deserves three and a half stars in my opinion. I really wasn't sure about it until halfway through when the personality of Nancy completely drew me in. She was far from perfect – she had a tendency to bully people (her children in particular suffered for this), she had strident views on sex, drink and religion, and her tongue could be as sharp as a knife. But she also had a tremendous wit, the ability to say what she liked without fear of repercussion, and outstanding courage. She was ...more
There are earlier biographies of Nancy Astor, although they seem to have all gone out of print. This is a new one (released October 2012 and January 2013).
Nancy was an interesting, lively and energetic woman and deserves to have a biography in print. This one introduces no new material and skirts quickly past her least attractive opinions, although it is not a complete hagiography. Adrian Fort does not seem to have made any attempt to understand her or her politics. In fact politics is almost co
Some say with figures from the past it is wise not to put 21st century values on people from the 19th to early 20th centuries. Well I was born in the late 20th century. Lady Astor as the author likes to mention, if not coming right out and saying so, was a modern woman. What kind of modern woman was she? She was apparently a control freak, she was manipulative, domineering, selfish, inconsiderate, callous, harsh, rude, but somewhere in her "slight, frail" body a kind heart and a sharp wit. The e ...more
This is a fascinating book about a fascinating woman. I knew of Nancy Astor of course, she was the
first woman MP to take her seat in the House of Commons, but I didn't know anything of her life beyond this. I had assumed that she had always been rich, but in fact her childhood had periods where her parents struggled for money. She was born into the Langhorne family of Virginia, who had been wealthy, but the Civil War wrecked their fortunes. Nancy's father, Chillie Langhorne, had to virtually sta
Petra X
Nancy was one of the many Americans whose family desired that they have a title. Most of the girls who married into aristocracy had family money, she did too, but not the endless riches that made them so attractive to the Dukes and Lords of the day. Nonetheless, she was shipped off to England after having made a pretty bad first marriage and she duly married into fame, fortune and a title.

In some ways she was a great lady who achieved much, but the book was soured by my knowledge of her prejudic
Stephanie Patterson

Nancy Astor turns up in my reading all the time. Her name comes up in almost any discussion of wartime England. This is the first chance I’ve had to read a full scale biography. Astor is often erroneously identified as the first woman elected to the British Parliament. She was indeed the first woman to sit in Parliament but not the first elected.
That honor belongs to a Sinn Fein candidate, Constance Markiewicz, a well-born Irish woman who married a Polish count and became a revolutionary (Not
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC radio listeners


BBC blurb: The first of five extracts from a new biography of Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in the British Parliament. Born in 1879, hers was a fascinating life: from straitened beginnings in the Civil War-ravaged Deep South of America, to marriage into one of the world's richest families, to a straight-talking campaign conducted door-to-door in one of the most deprived areas of Plymouth which brought her a political career that lasted more than two decades (from 1919 - until
Chapters seemed somewhat disjointed. One minute, you're reading about what she's doing in Parliament, the next, she's having a personal spat with someone or traveling here or there. Suddenly, a death is mentioned, and if the reader is unfamiliar with who's who in her life, they're left scratching their head as to who this person even was and how the loss personally affected her.
This biography didn't really flesh Nancy Astor out enough for me.
She was such a multifaceted, complex woman and I feel
Sue Pit
Upon reading about Winston Churchill, the name of Nancy Astor came up from time time as a parliamentarian. When I saw this book on display, I then recalled the name but was a bit askance at reading about someone whom oft was at odds with Winston Churchill notably as an appeaser of Hitler pre-WWII. But bought it I did and it was an interesting read as to how an American woman from a southern family struggling from the effects of the Civil War became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons ...more
A biography of Lady Astor, first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons. I was fascinated to learn of her early years and of her determined progress through life. I think the book was a little too long, my interest started to wane by WW2. Nonetheless, a worthwhile read.
By page 162, I had to ask myself--Why do I care? The answer was--I don't. She(an American)was the first woman to take a seat in the British Parliament. She did nothing significant while there and was, by no means, a feminist. Apart from that, she was obscenely wealthy; the mistress of Cliveden where all notable English citizens and vistors went to meet and exchange views; and, she was noted for her beauty and sharp tongue. Had she not had so much money she would have been called "rude"--or worse ...more
Started off really well and then bogged down in the middle,picked up a little toward the end but overall rather disappointing. Would have liked more on the Astor family and her relationship with them rather than the politics. Necessary to a degree but tedious after her initial entry to the British Parliament, where after her brave role as the first woman MP she rather lost the plot when other far more competent women MPs joined the fray and should have got out. Would have liked more on Cliveden' ...more
Good Book. But I like dry history.
She is very inspirational (first woman MP, champion of women and children, worked for the temperance movement, helped Britain through two world wars etc.) , though her religion was questionable...
Celeste Fritz
This was our book club's selection, as there is a review event in January. It was interesting learning how an American woman became the first female MP in Britain,but I didn't find Nancy to be a very like able person. I also thought the author did a lot of name-dropping of people big in U.K. politics during the early 20th century. This got to be. Rey dull and confusing. I enjoyed the story of Lady Almina more.
Good read. The author seemed to admire Nancy, but didn't hesitate to discuss her flaws, which made her seem real. Subject matter fell nicely in line with what I just read in Fall of Giants.
Julia Nixon
The information in this biography was interesting and well researched, but the author's extremely long sentences seem, at times, to be choppy and hard to follow.
This book was boring, boring, boring! The author basically kept repeating the same facts about her over, and over, and over, and OVER again. Couldn't finish
Sara Morgan
Sometimes repetitive in descriptions of Nancy Astor, but I enjoyed the history lesson as well as learning about Nancy Astor and her remarkable life.
Judith Guyot
This book was interesting but waay overwritten. It just went On and On
discussing every social scene, ad infinitum.
Very well written and researched. I even learned a new thing or two about her.
Jan Daulton
This is a great read..fascinating woman of her time!
Tamara marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2015
Lynne marked it as to-read
Nov 28, 2015
Maria Lazar
Maria Lazar marked it as to-read
Nov 24, 2015
John marked it as to-read
Nov 23, 2015
Amy marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
  • The Last Mrs. Astor: A New York Story
  • Christina, Queen of Sweden: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric
  • Counting One's Blessings: The Selected Letters of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
  • A Piece of My Heart: The Stories of 26 American Women Who Served in Vietnam
  • An Uncommon Woman - The Empress Frederick: Daughter of Queen Victoria, Wife of the Crown Prince of Prussia, Mother of Kaiser Wilhelm
  • Serving Victoria: Life in the Royal Household
  • The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, the Playboy Prince
  • The Girl Who Loved Camellias: The Life and Legend of Marie Duplessis
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings
  • Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography
  • Queen Anne: The Politics of Passion
  • The Churchills: In Love and War
  • Declaration: The Nine Tumultuous Weeks When America Became Independent, May 1-July 4, 1776
  • Queen Victoria, From her Birth to the Death of the Prince Consort
  • Juliette Gordon Low: The Remarkable Founder of the Girl Scouts
  • The Richest Woman in America: The Life and Times of Hetty Green
  • In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb

Share This Book