An American aristocrat - a descendant of founding father John Jay - Susan Mary Alsop (1918 - 2004) with husband, Joe Alsop, brought together the movers and shakers of not just the United States, but the world. Henry Kissinger remarked that more agreements were concluded in her living room than in the White House.
Born in Rome, brought up in Argentina and the United States, Susan Mary arrived in Paris in 1945 to join her first husband, Bill Patten. There she witnessed 'history on the boil' at dinners with Winston Churchill, Duff Cooper (the British ambassador and the love of her life), FDR, Greta Garbo, and many others.
A year after Patten's death in 1960, she married the renowned journalist and legendary power broker Joe Alsop and moved with her two children into his home on Dumbarton Avenue, in the heart of Gerogetown. It was the golden years of John F. Kennedy's presidency and Susan Mary, dubbed 'the second lady of Camelot,' hosted dinner parties that were the epitome of political power and social arrival. She reigned over Georgetown society for four decades; her house was the gathering place for everyone of importance, including John F. Kennedy, Katharine Graham, Robert McNamara, and Henry Kissinger.
But the Alsops' marriage was unworkable, and in 1973 they divorced. Susan Mary then embarked on a literary career, publishing four books and becoming a contributing editor to Architectural Digest . She died in Georgetown at the age of eighty-six.
In American Lady , the first biography of Susan Mary Alsop, Caroline de Margerie reveals the complex and fascinating woman who truly witnessed, in novelist Nancy Mitford's words, 'history on the boil'.