OVERRIDE

Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor

Adrian Fort

St. Martin's Press

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 of the ruling society that had for so long resisted the political upheavals of the early twentieth century, having married into one of the richest families in the world. She wasn't even British, but the daughter of a famous Virginian family, and fiercely proud of her expatriate ancestry. But her moral drive was strong, and she would utilize her position of privilege and influence to blow a bracing American wind into what she regarded as the stuffy corners of British politics.

This account charts Nancy Astor's incredible story, from relative penury in the American South to a world of enormous countryside estates and townhouses, and the most lavish entertainments, peopled by the great figures of the day—Churchill, Chamberlain, FDR, Charlie Chapin, J. M. Barrie, and Lawrence of Arabia were all part of her social circle. But hers was not to be an easy life of power and pure glamour; it was also defined by principles and bravery, war and sacrifice, love, and the most embittered disputes.

With glorious, page-turning brio, Adrian Fort brings to life this restless, controversial American dynamo, an unforgettable woman who left a deep and lasting imprint on the political life of a nation.

 

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

Nancy
ONEIn DixieNancy Astor was born into a family with no money and no certain future, in a country vanquished in war and destitute in its aftermath. Her parents were Chiswell Dabney Langhorne and Nannie Witcher Keen, and she too was christened Nannie, the name she used until, in 1904, in her early twenties, she travelled to England, when she began calling herself Nancy.Her father, known as Chillie or Dab to his parents and wife, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, on 4 November 1843, the eldest of five children, two others having died in infancy. A heavy, stocky, rumbustious extrovert, he was
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor

“‘I am the kind of woman I would run from.’ That was how Nancy Astor described herself, yet this society hostess, groundbreaking politician, and sharp-tongued wit was someone you very much want to read about.” The Daily Beast

“An entertaining biography of the Virginia belle who crossed the Atlantic—and was soon engaged in conversational combat with the likes of Stalin and Churchill.” —Vogue.com

“Admirably brave . . . a marvelous subject for biography. Mr. Fort adds a sober assessment of her political skills, a love of the rich tapestry of her life and a good ear for the anecdotes with which it was filled.” The Wall Street Journal

“Perceptive and lively, sympathetic and honest, “Nancy” embodies the best of popular biography.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Fast-paced, exhaustively detailed, and crisply told . . . Fort's compulsively readable work is an inspiring tale of an energetic woman—far ahead of her time—tirelessly working to pave the way for future generations.” —Publishers Weekly

“She was brash and had a knack of infuriating people, but she was still the political hostess of the generation. . . . She was assertive to the point of bullying and had a caustic wit—a loose cannon who, in spite of herself, managed to aid the English in their struggle through the Depression and two world wars. . . . A wonderful history of tumultuous times.” —Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Adrian Fort

  • ADRIAN FORT was educated at Oxford, where he was a Clarendon Fellow. He practiced as a lawyer and became involved with politics before pursuing a financial career. He has published many articles on financial and economic matters and has broadcast frequently on the radio. His previous books include Prof: The Life and Times of Frederick Lindemann and Archibald Wavell: The Life and Times of an Imperial Servant.

BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor

Adrian Fort

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

BACK