My Three Fathers

My Three Fathers

And the Elegant Deceptions of My Mother, Susan Mary Alsop

Book - 2008
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Bill Patten grew up in the heart of privileged society to American parents--a debutante mother, a diplomatic father--stationed in Europe. Weekends away from his English boarding school were often spent at the regal country estates of important policy makers and historical figures of the mid-twentieth century. When Bill was twelve years old, his father, William Patten, died, and his mother remarried the renowned columnist Joe Alsop. Patten was swept into Washington during the Kennedy years, where he bore witness to his stepfather's legendary power-brokering, and watched a very different father figure at work.

In 1996, when he was forty-seven years old, Bill Patten learned that his biological father was not William Patten, but the noted English diplomat, Duff Cooper. In this quest to know his triumvirate of fathers, Bill Patten offers an unforgettable memoir. My Three Fathers is a search for identity--and a luscious chronicle of a fascinating, bygone era of American aristocracy.

Publisher: New York : PublicAffairs, 2008.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781586485559
1586485555
Branch Call Number: BIO PATTEN W. Patten 06/2008
Characteristics: xv, 379 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Call Number: BIO PATTEN W. Patten 06/2008

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BertBailey
Jun 26, 2012

Bizarre book about the author's mother - who, contrary to the subtitle, seemed to be in possession (at least that we can gather from this book) of precious little that was elegant. The anecdotes retold are devoid of any charm, even if her lover (and his natural father) Duff Cooper was one of the great charmers and seducers of his time! (His biography, at the OPL, is well worth a read). This book was embarrassing for me to read: I was embarrassed mostly for the author, who tries desperately hard, failing all along, to glamorize his wayward mother - and, weirdly, to redeem his own bastardy. The characters are, luckily, all dead; otherwise they'd revile his ingenuous inclusion of their peccadilloes in this loose collection of uninteresting anecdotes.

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