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

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  628 ratings  ·  122 reviews
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 scan...more
ebook, 608 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by Penguin Books (first published October 18th 2007)
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Dana Stabenow
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
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
Sue
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
Pooch
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
John
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
Katherine
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
Beth
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
Jamie
I came to this book after I read the chilren's picture book, "what to do about alice" about 30 times. I so fell in love with Alice and was excited to learn more about her, and this book did indeed deliver.

I tend to like books in which women who have a lot going on make some questionable life choices, and this is right up there with the Martha Gellhorn bio for delivering on that.

I identify with Alice, and the fact that she had a Siamese cat at the end of her life just added to it.

I do agree wi...more
Carolann


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
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
Rory
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.
Jaylia3
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
Jean Perry
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
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
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
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
Agatha
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
Erin
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
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
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
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
Maxanna Lucas
Well this book can only be described as a very long slog. The only reason for the two stars rather than only one is neither the skill of the biographer nor any genuine interest in the subject of the biography, but rather some interest in the back story of the first 5 decades of the 19th century. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was the meanest of the mean girls who capitalized on family connections. She failed as daughter, wife, mother. I suppose to the author the mere fact the she was intelligent, wel...more
Trena
This is a well-written, readable book that provides a minute-by-minute chronicle of the life of Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Teddy Roosevelt's oldest daughter (by a forgotten first wife who died shortly after Alice's birth). She was a huge celebrity as first daughter--think Paris Hilton in her heyday.

She apparently grew up to run a political salon and have extramarital affairs. But I just couldn't make it that far (gave up at page 257). While the book is comprehensive on the contents of Alice's l...more
Lrosenow
Aug 23, 2008 Lrosenow is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: History or biography fans
Highly recommended for history buffs of the era - otherwise might be tedious for the casual reader. I happened to be seated next to the author, Stacy Cordery, at a luncheon where she gave a presentation in Chicago and the tale of how she came across hundreds of Alice's letters and personal papers was spellbinding but is unfortunately not part of the book.

Courdery does, however, provide the reader with what I found to be a fascinating glimpse into the the relationship between Alice and Senator B...more
Laura
I read Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker. I don't think it was very well done. There was a lot of time spent on Alice's adolescence and her angst about being so well known, but not being as rich as her friends or not getting the boy she wanted or her parents being disappointed in her (which is typical for teens), but very little about why she was a Washington Power House. The last 40 years of her life were covered in 100 pages, whereas the fir...more
Jennifer
The end is not as interesting as the beginning. I need to force myself to continue. It is interesting as it gets to WWII to hear how Americans didn't really get that Hitler was as bad as he was until it was a little late in the game.

Finished this. No doubt about it, Alice Roosevelt was a fascinating and influential and extremely intelligent woman. She did pick a lot of losers politically. She was actually a friend of Nixon's until he inappropriately tied himself to her dad in a speech.

One of my...more
Janille
This was a remarkable book about a woman I previously had no knowledge of - her life story is incredible. Alice Roosevelt Longworth died in 1980 at the age of 96 - her life spanned the most important events of the 20th century and she was INVOLVED in them in a way most women of her generation (heck even MY generation) never experienced. This was one of the most engaging biographies I have ever read. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a history buff, or who loves to read about American politi...more
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