White House Wild Child: How Alice Roosevelt Broke All the Rules and Won the Heart of America

Imagine. Oct. 2023. 256p. ISBN 9781623545499. $27.99. BIOG
Until her death at age 96, Alice Roosevelt (1884–1980) was called the Other Washington Monument. Award-winning novelist Mickle (The Queen of October) presents a vivid account of Roosevelt’s life and her quest for unconditional love from her father, Theodore Roosevelt. This book shows that she never attained it. Theodore’s mother died on the same day as his wife, Alice Hathaway Lee, which occurred just two days after she gave birth to their daughter, her namesake. Infant Alice was put in the care of his sister. When Roosevelt remarried, he and his second wife brought Alice to their home in Cove Neck, NY. When Roosevelt became president, Alice, now 17, became known for her antics. For example, her purse often contained a dagger, a nonpoisonous snake, and the Constitution, and she finally got her father’s attention by doing such things as smoking on the roof of the White House after he told her she couldn’t smoke under it. She later married congressman Nicholas Longworth; both were unfaithful. Her affair with Sen. William Borah produced a daughter, Paulina, whom Longworth doted on. Mickle also covers Paulina’s life, early death, and Roosevelt’s subsequent custody of her granddaughter.
VERDICT A highly recommended exploration of Alice Roosevelt Longworth’s life.
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