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Nancy: The Story of Lady Astor Paperback – 5 Sep 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (5 Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845951611
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845951610
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"Fort casts fresh light on a remarkable woman, whose toughness and independence of opinion allowed this outsider to chart a new course for women." (Good Book Guide)

"The spirited story of the indomitable girl from America who married a millionaire and fought fiercely to become Britain’s first female MP" (Sunday Times)

"Fort’s well researched biography is excellent" (Janet Christie Scotsman)

"Adrian Fort does justice to her energetic, forceful and outspoken personality" (Christopher Silvester Daily Express)

"A masterful and compassionate book, every bit as multi-facet as the extraordinary woman" (Country Life)

Book Description

The glamorous page-turning story of the incredible life of Nancy Astor, Britain's first female MP.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Recently I chanced to catch a review of "NANCY, the story of Lady Astor" on BBC radio 4 and immediately dashed off an order on my Amazon account. A scholarly yet lively book I found it worth every penny: to me more, much more.
I was born in Plymouth and I'm now in my eighth decade. Nancy Astor was my childhood hero and she was the hero of war-torn Plymouth which suffered more concentrated Nazi bombing than any other British city, Coventry included.
Nancy and her husband Waldorf 2nd Viscount Astor were both American and both adored Plymouth, loving its people, its history and the swashbucklers that sailed out of Plymouth Sound. Adrian Fort, the book's author, recounts that on first sighting Plymouth Nancy said,"The moment I got there I had a strange feeling of coming home."
With her rhetoric and ceaseless energy she rallied the citizens of Plymouth with speeches that would have done Churchill proud -- yet she and Churchill maintained a respectful animosity,"Winston, if you were my husband I'd put arsenic in your tea!" "Nancy, if you were my wife I'd drink it!"
Adrian Fort delivers the message that while she was fiery her husband was a pleasant, nicest-person-in-the-world sort. I remember my grandfather being pleased and awed to tell the family that he had had a long chat with Lord Astor on a Plymouth tram. Several times when he was Lord Mayor of Plymouth he was the guest of honour at speech days at my excellent school - Sutton High - axed in the slaughter of grammar schools
I must have been eight or nine when I met Nancy, or properly speaking she met me - see my blog, "What Nancy said to me," on [...]
NANCY, the story of Lady Astor is as gripping as any page-turning whodunnit.I was enthralled, many thanks Adrian Fort for your book. It tugged my heart strings and stirred almost forgotten memories - but in truth it's a jolly good read for anybody and I've got to give it 5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting story of the life, times and influence of a great but mercurial lady.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nancy Astor was a pioneering politician - the first woman to sit in the House of Commons - and yet there has not been a biography of her published since the 1980s. Thank goodness therefore for this scholarly and long-overdue effort by Adrian Fort.

Nancy Astor was born in Virginia and the story does not really get going until she sets foot in England and marries the millionaire Waldorf Astor. At times I wished the book had the directness and acerbity of Astor herself, rather than the description and dutifulness of a conventional biography. However, for the most part, it does indeed possess the 'glorious, page-turning brio' proclaimed on the cover. The detail and research of the chapter covering the Astors' war years in Plymouth is particularly impressive, whilst remaining clear and flowing.

I hope the National Trust shop at Cliveden has stocked up with copies!
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By S Riaz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating story of a lady who was born in Virginia and who became the first woman MP in England. Her parents were very affected by the American Civil War and she was born into poverty, although from a well established family. Eventually, her father had a change in fortune, but sadly for Nancy their improved status and wealth did not change his ideas on female education. He did not approve of bookworms or too much education for women, which she always resented. Limited in what she could achieve as a young woman, Nancy embarked on a disastrous first marriage. However, she later made a much more successful marriage with the supportive and wealthy Waldorf Astor, who accepted her son and with whom she made a new life in England.

Indeed, it was a life at the very centre of the current events of the day - with Waldorf embarked on a political career and Nancy as a prominent hostess. This book looks at the ups and downs of Nancy's career in politics - her success as the only woman MP, her visit to Russia and meeting with Stalin, the furore caused by the 'Cliveden Set' and, of course, her personal life. Nancy Astor was a woman who knew her own mind, and who spoke it forcefully. Sometimes she upset othes with her strong views, but she was always loyal to her beliefs and, despite being criticised for advocating appeasement before the Second World War, she worked tirelessly for the people of her constituency during the war years. This is a very interesting biography, with Nancy Astor involved in politics during a time of great upheaval socially and politically, which I greatly enjoyed.
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Format: Hardcover
What a wonderful book. I came to this book with only scant knowledge of Nancy aka Lady Astor. The main source of my knowledge was a book I'd read by her loyal maid Rosina Harrison called "Gentlemen's Gentlemen: My Friends in Service" and which focussed on British butlers and which extensively featured Edwin Lee who was Lady Astor's head butler for most of her life in England. From that book all I had gleaned was that she was an American, who had relocated to England, and become an aristocratic woman of power and social significance.

Her story is so interesting and compelling, and her personality so powerful, that the book is a real page-turner. Adrain Fort appears to be in thrall to Nancy, and with good reason. Born in 1879, her earliest years were mired in economic uncertainty before her father finally managed to come good and provide significant wealth and prosperity to his family. From there she married into one of the world's richest families, and became the first female MP to enter the British Parliament after winning the tough and economically deprived constituency of Plymouth where she became a local legend. This biography provides an excellent historical context to her life whilst never losing focus on its core subject. She lived through extraordinary times: the aftermath of the US Civil War, two world wars, the depression, female emancipation, and massive social change. Her energy and charisma shine through every chapter and yet the writer remains clear eyed about her many mistakes and personality flaws too. A book about an extraordinary woman that does full justice to its subject. At the end of the book I felt genuinely sad to have finished her story which inevitably concludes with the end of her remarkable life.
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