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

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  861 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
At the dawn of the twentieth century and the age of media celebrity, a new figure in the White House gave Americans a larger-than-life idol to root for, full of color and character. It wasn't the rough-riding new president, Teddy Roosevelt, but his outrageous and outrageously charming teenage daughter, Alice. From the moment she strode into town- carrying a snake and dangl ...more
Hardcover, 483 pages
Published October 18th 2007 by Viking Adult (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dana Stabenow
Mar 22, 2010 Dana Stabenow rated it did not like it
I'm about 130 pages in, and I've come to two conclusions:

1. Stacy Cordery is a very good writer, and I'm looking forward to reading others of her books.

2. Either Alice Roosevelt was one of the most irritating adolescents who ever lived or Cordery was seduced by so much extant source material. If I have to read another diary entry gushing over some guy (whose name changed daily) I will vomit.

Alice is now about to get married and I'm hoping it will mature her a little, but at this point I'm so ann
...more
Alice
Apr 10, 2012 Alice rated it liked it
I am a serious reader of biography, especially of American women. This was the first full-length biography I have read about Alice Longworth, and my appetite for this book was whetted by the many, many anecdotes about her that I have read about in works about her family and other contemporaries. Alice certainly was an interesting character, though not entirely likable character,especially in view of her nearly total lack of formal education. (She was an autodidact and an insatiable reader throug ...more
Jaylia3
Jan 11, 2014 Jaylia3 rated it really liked it
I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both--Teddy Roosevelt.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth (1884 1981), eldest child of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, was known throughout her long life for her wide-ranging intelligence, piercing insights, love of mischief, fascination with politics, passionate loyalty, and sharp cutting wit, all of which is well captured in this entertaining biography, as interesting for its history as it is for its personalitie
...more
Sue
Jan 11, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies
This book is filled with more about Alice's political life than any other bio of her I've read, but the author seems to have lost interest with Alice's story after Nick Longworth's death. The author is very vague on Alice's relationship with her granddaughter -- there is a deeper story there that should be explored -- and not a single mention that Jimmy Carter was the first/only president since McKinley to her death in 1980 who did not welcome her to the White House, again something to explore. ...more
Dayla
While I enjoyed reading this book--finishing with a much greater understanding of Alice Roosevelt, I did at the same time come to loathe her sarcasm, and then eventually Alice herself. Anyone can be cruel or a bully, and Alice was certainly that. I found myself initially cheering her once progressive opinions, but as time passed, the same opinions grew into a selfish selective division apart from others. Alice also had an unwillingness to re-examine her beliefs or her motivations that lead her t ...more
Jeff
I’ve been fascinated by Theodore Roosevelt’s flamboyant eldest daughter since my high school days and was delighted by this study of how, over the course of her very long life, she constantly reinvented herself — from teenaged White House rebel to behind-the-scenes political operator to finish at last as ‘Washington’s other Monument’. She was a brilliant wit and a champion hater specializing in (as she herself put it) “detached malevolence”, with a particular talent for making her Democrat Roose ...more
John
Mar 25, 2008 John rated it really liked it
Long referred to as “the other Washington Monument” Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the eldest daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, was a powerful political force and icon of the 20th century, When Alice was born on February 12, 1884 in the family home, Teddy Roosevelt was then a recently elected New York Assemblyman. Tragically, two days after her birth TR’s wife and his mother died in the same house.

Roosevelt had assumed the Presidency after the assassination of William McKinley in 1901 and f
...more
Beth
Aug 16, 2011 Beth rated it it was ok
Shelves: history, biography
At first, I was really enjoying this biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She was the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt and cousin to both Franklin Delano and Eleanor Roosevelt. In her teenaged and early adult years, nicknamed "Princess Alice" by the press, she was an interesting iconoclast who made her own rules and set trends. But by the 1910s, she morphs into a dreadful hate-monger, and she only gets worse. She played a rather key role in keeping the U.S. out of the League of Nations, mostly ...more
Ashley
Jan 03, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book I knew very little about Alice Roosevelt. I found that she was an amazing woman who led an amazing life. Alice could be charming, loved to entertain, and loved being center of attention ingeneral. The not so admirable traits of Alice, especially in her childhood, was a spoiled brat who whined when it wasn't her way, signing her diary, "No hope for Alice." She could also be just plain out rude. I get the impression though, that those who were lucky enough to call her frie ...more
Susan Albert
Sep 19, 2014 Susan Albert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing woman who danced to her own drum. Her story makes more sense to me after watching Ken Burns' film on the Roosevelts--I could see her in the context of the two Roosevelt tribes (Oyster Bay and Hyde Park).
Carolann
May 04, 2012 Carolann rated it it was amazing


I really enjoyed this book.

For all the talk of her Theodore Roosevelt and how important he was in her life. It does not delve deeply into his death at all.

I was surprised because he was such a major part of her story.
I think there was maybe one or two sentences devoted to his dying.

It would have been interesting to know more about what it did to her.

It goes more in depth when talking about the deaths of the other men in her life. Which I found odd.

This is a book I would buy for my bookshelves.
Lauriann
Jul 16, 2014 Lauriann rated it really liked it
What a colorful character! Alice Roosevelt Longworth, first daughter of Teddy Roosevelt was born a day or two before her own mother's and grandmother's deaths. Neglected by a grief-sticken father, she was raised in her early years by her beloved Auntie Bye. When returned to her father, she struggled to find what her placement was in a family that came to include a stepmother and step-siblings. What emerged was a fiery, outspoken, spontaneous and at times outrageous young woman who captured the a ...more
Rj
Jan 27, 2015 Rj rated it really liked it
The past couple of nights I have been sinking into Stacy A. Cordery's biography of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, From White House Princess to Washington Power Broker (New York: Viking, 2007). The book is a fascinating study of Longworth, her life and the times she lived in. Longworth has long been someone of interest to me, her feisty and combative approach to life has always intrigued me. As a young impressionable 16 year old I meet a man at one of David's parties ...more
Pammy
Nov 03, 2014 Pammy rated it really liked it
If you enjoy or appreciate biographies, here's one worth recommending: ALICE “Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker”, by Stacy A Cordery.
When visiting the First Ladies National Historic Site in Canton, Ohio, tour guide recommended this bio, even though she was the daughter of Pres Theodore Roosevelt, and not a first lady. The bio explains she was such a significant figure in the world of big money, old families and politics, that she was given the status
...more
Rory
Feb 07, 2008 Rory rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
Maybe I would have given this book another star (at least one of those 1/2 stars we're always wishing GoodReads would induct) if Alice Roosevelt Longworth hadn't made me feel bad about myself. I'm SORRY, Alice, if I can't be as magnificent as you--Gibson girl, world traveler, political persuader, salon mistress, power magnet. Hmph.
Tamara
Jun 01, 2016 Tamara rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book. It was an education in back room politics and her role. There are many things to be impressed with regarding this historical figure and I am not sure which I like the most. Let's start with the fact she had no formal education. She was taught the basics at home. Afterward she spent a life time reading. Her thirst for knowledge was extraordinary on a variety of subjects. Next lets talk about her ability to rise above her childhood problems and make something of herself. She pu ...more
Julia Grey
Dec 11, 2014 Julia Grey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-biography
This book is well-worth reading because it is written well and does not read like a list of what the person did. The book is an exquisite example of creative nonfiction. Alice Roosevelt did not have an easy life because her father paid no attention to her. Alice did have her aunt (TR's sister) who took care of her and gave her affection. The way Alice caught on to politics was amazing and I do envy her that experience. A good book about the daughter of someone famous to whom we never really give ...more
Jean Perry
Nov 02, 2013 Jean Perry rated it really liked it
I finally finished the Alice Roosevelt Longworth bio. It took me quite a long time, (500 pgs) but it was very interesting.

Two passages i posted in a women's issues discussion on SeniorLearn book discussions and thought i would share here.

One is about TR at Harvard. His ungraduate thesis was - are you ready for this - "The Practicality of Equalizing Men and Women Before the Law"!!! " It considered the topic of women's rights, including property ownership, and argued that women ought to keep thei
...more
Christina Mitchell
Nov 28, 2011 Christina Mitchell rated it it was amazing
I gravitate to any strong woman (I am unapologetically a feminist). However, give me a strong woman who is also a smart-ass and you have alighted in me pure hero worship for her. Alice Roosevelt Longworth would never have classified herself as a feminist. She honestly disavowed any formal identity whatsoever besides as a member of the Republican/Bull Moose party of her father. Yet, Gloria Steinem was one of her admitted heroines (Cordery, 2007, p. 463). Her lack of identification was fully expla ...more
Lee Anne
May 21, 2011 Lee Anne rated it liked it
Teddy Roosevelt's daughter Alice was a character. Rebellious in spirit, outspoken, and a strong woman in a world filled with strong men.

Stacy Cordery's biography of this most famous of first daughters sadly pales in comparison to the picture book What to Do about Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!. Cordery's gossipy tone and armchair analysis (there are too many variations of "perhaps Alice was thinking..." or "this must have been t
...more
Jeanette
Mar 12, 2009 Jeanette rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2009
Before coming across this biography about Alice Roosevelt Longworth, I knew very little about this woman who was once a major American icon and known around the world as Princess Alice. I knew she was Theodore Roosevelt's daughter, that her mother had died shortly after giving birth to her and that she married a congressman from Cincinnati in a fancy White House wedding but that was about as far as my knowledge went. It turns out there was a lot to learn.

Details, details, details! This book was
...more
Marian
To review an autobiography can feel like two things. A review of the author and a review of the subject.

The author in this case is inconsistent as a storyteller and solid as a writer. She devotes ten pages to the end of Alice's life and seemingly 10,000 to the start (but not the end) of her romance with Bill Borah. Alice's life deserved a better pace and a much more solid analysis of her relationship with Paulina, her barely mentioned daughter, and Joanna, her highly important granddaughter. If
...more
Pooch
May 07, 2008 Pooch rated it it was amazing
p. 3 "Victorian morality was synonymous with honorable men, demure women, and docile children."

P. 4 "...charities like Mrs. Slattery's Night School for Little Italians."

p. 5 Diary entry by TR after death of his father, "...Christianity gave us, on earth, rest in trouble, not from trouble."

p. 418 "People forget that such wit is possible only when upheld by a broad intellect, insider status, and years of political and legislative expertise."

"On the whole, he acted like two idiots."

This supremely r
...more
Agatha
Mar 11, 2013 Agatha rated it really liked it
A weighty tome about the eldest daughter of Teddy Roosevelt. She actually was his daughter by his first wife, who died shortly after childbirth. The rest of his 4 other children (3 boys and a girl) were from his 2nd wife, Edith. Edith was loving and maternal towards Alice but definitely within the Edwardian parenting style of the time: a bit more arms-length. Moreover, before TR married Edith, Alice lived the first 3 years of her life with TR's sister, Anna, known to the family as "Auntie Bye," ...more
Katherine
Oct 22, 2015 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: bio-or-autobio
I wouldn't recommend this book unless you:

a) are really into Alice Roosevelt

b) are interested in the details of high society life at the turn of the 20th century

c) like biographies.

I was curious about Teddy Roosevelt's daughter, and luckily my curiosity sustained me through this long book. Alice really led a fascinating life, and I agree with her bits of wisdom such as: "Having a baby is like trying to push a grand piano through a transom." I also learned that her husband, Speaker Longworth, com
...more
Erin
Jul 12, 2011 Erin rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The complexity of Alice's life, her personal struggles and the political events of the time are excellently depicted. This book captures the nuances of the political issues of the day without getting bogged down. Key perspectives and policies are described in a way that provides the reader with a fair perspective without getting overwhelmed with rhetoric. The author clearly demonstrates their expanse knowledge of this era by the ease with which they write ...more
Laura Putz
Jan 20, 2014 Laura Putz rated it really liked it
I found this book to be really interesting, especially since I didn't know that much about Alice and her life when I started it. The main thing that I took away was her ability to find a way to succeed and accomplish what she wanted within the Victorian social constrictions that existed at the time. She broke some social rules (smoking, wearing pants), but she followed the major ones (get married, focus on the running of the house, entertaining, supporting her husband). She just found or willed ...more
Megan
Apr 03, 2012 Megan rated it liked it
Alice was an interesting character who led a fascinating life. A long, public life through the 20th Century made for a great read in which politics and history combined with the personal and human. This book was a good source of information about culture and history, particularly in Washington, DC, and it was also an engrossing source for Cincinnati and Ohio political history, as Alice married into the Longworth family. Besides being the daughter of a President, she was also wife of a Speaker of ...more
David R.
Jul 20, 2016 David R. rated it really liked it
Cordery takes on an interpretation and understanding of the life of "Princess Alice" Roosevelt who dominated Washington politics for much of the 20th Century. The narrative tends to excessive detail of her early years, and races through her later years, leaving a sense of insufficiency. It's not necessarily a flattering story. Alice comes off as a shallow, sharp tongued gold digger in her early years and something of a pretentious phony in her last.
Kennedy
"If you haven't got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me."
-Alice Roosevelt Longworth

This is all I knew about Alice Roosevelt Longworth before I read Alice. Based off that quote, I thought I'd love Alice (the person).

Alice is a New York Times notable book. Alice Roosevelt was one of the first big celebrites in America. The media followed her as much as her father, Theodore Roosevelt. This biography follows her entire life. It also talked a lot about her family.

I really enjoyed
...more
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