Before blue states and red states, PACs or cable news, there was the era of Susan Mary Alsop, known as "the second lady of Camelot," who ruled a kingdom called Georgetown beginning in the 1960s. More than just a hostess, Alsop — a descendant of founding father John Jay and married to columnist Joe Alsop — reigned for more than four decades. Her home was a gathering place for real conversation about issues like the SALT talks and the war in Vietnam, not the shallow meet-and-greet affairs that characterize parties today.
Today so many offer lip service to bipartisanship, but that's what Alsop actually did: create an environment where issues could be discussed by what we would call the "thought leaders": President John F. Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, I.M. Pei, Katharine Graham and Moshe Dayan, to name a few.
In this biography, French author Caroline de Margerie avoids hagiography, instead depicting a fabulously interesting, complicated and influential woman.
Watch Printers Row Journal for an upcoming full-length review of "American Lady: The Life of Susan Mary Alsop."
"American Lady" by Caroline de Margerie
Introduction by Frances FitzGerald
Viking, 221 pages, $26.95Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times