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Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  124 Ratings  ·  27 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
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ebook, 400 pages
Published January 22nd 2013 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 1st 2012)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,118)
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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 as the first female Member of Parliament, but the book
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Nick Turner
Oct 22, 2012 Nick Turner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, past
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
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Nigeyb
Feb 28, 2013 Nigeyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Caroline
It is a curiously little-known fact that the first female MP in the Houses of Parliament was not in fact British at all but American. She was not a feminist or a suffragette, not a born radical bent on upsetting societal norms or conventions. Far from it, she was wealthy in her own right and married to yet more immense wealth in the shape of her husband, an heir of the Astor millions, mixing in the highest circles of British social life. Her position as a trailblazer in feminist politics came ab ...more
Elizabeth Moffat
May 04, 2013 Elizabeth Moffat rated it liked it
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
Val
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
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Yasmin
Nov 25, 2013 Yasmin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Joanne
Apr 19, 2013 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
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
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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
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Bettie☯
Mar 06, 2014 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC radio listeners


BOTW

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
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Jo
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
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Sue Pit
Apr 23, 2013 Sue Pit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Lesley
Feb 12, 2014 Lesley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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.
judy
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
Robert
May 30, 2013 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Susan Kosel
Jan 05, 2016 Susan Kosel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very well balanced portrait of an incredible lady.
Stephanie
Oct 27, 2015 Stephanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographical
Good Book. But I like dry history.
Shaney
Feb 27, 2015 Shaney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Sharon
Feb 24, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2013 Julia Nixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Susan
Aug 16, 2013 Susan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 20, 2013 Sara Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Iris
Jun 26, 2013 Iris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well written and researched. I even learned a new thing or two about her.
Jan Daulton
Apr 23, 2013 Jan Daulton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read..fascinating woman of her time!
Cory
Jul 14, 2014 Cory rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't finish.
Andrea
Andrea marked it as to-read
Feb 01, 2016
Lesley
Lesley is currently reading it
Jan 30, 2016
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