My Three Fathers

My Three Fathers : and the Elegant Deceptions of My Mother, Susan Mary Alsop

3.29 (55 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

This is a colourful and moving memoir of life in the twilight years of America's 20th century Wasp aristocracy set in Paris, London, Washington, and coastal Maine. Bill Patten grew up in the heart of privileged society to American parents - a debutante mother, a diplomat father - stationed in Europe. Weekends away from his English boarding school were often spent at regal country estates in France and England owned by some of the more important policy makers and historical figures of the mid-twentieth century. With the triumphant end of World War Two, the work of rebuilding Europe was in the hands of the freshest faces of diplomacy. It was against this fervent and thrilling backdrop of change that Bill Patten was raised. It wasn't until Patten's 12th year, when William Patten succumbed to a lifelong battle with asthma, that his world was shaken with the terrible and irrefutable experience of a beloved parent's death.With his mother's remarriage to the nationally syndicated journalist and pundit Joe Alsop, Patten was swept into Washington during the Kennedy years, where he bore witness to his step-father's legendary power-brokering, and watched a very different father figure at work. In 1996 long after his father's death, and the death of Joe Alsop, Bill Patten was again struck with upending news about his patronage: his biological father was not William Patten, but the noted English diplomat, Duff Cooper. Forty-seven years old, Bill Patten knew who he was, yet this new knowledge reframed his sense of self."My Three Fathers" offers a window onto one of the more defining human qualities - the search for identity - and chronicles a fascinating, bygone era of American aristocracy; one rife with pretence, sexual innuendo, and the thrill of history-making. In his quest to know his triumvirate of fathers, Bill Patten offers an unforgettable memoir, one as concerned with understanding the motivations of the powerful men and women who formed his mother's inner-circle, to coming to terms with his untraditional choice of career, his decision to settle in a remote community in Maine, and his own struggle to be an upstanding parent to his three children.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 154.94 x 236.22 x 38.1mm | 680.39g
  • INGRAM PUBLISHER SERVICES US
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1586485555
  • 9781586485559

Review quote

"Washington Times," July, 27, 2008"The details of Bill Patten's story are unique and fascinating but the process he describes of coming to terms with his family, while infinitely less complicated for most people, is a near universal one."show more

About Bill Patten

Bill Patten is a businessman with 30 years experience in real estate development. From 1978 to 1996 he published weekly newspapers in mid-coast Maine. He has three children, two step-children and three grandchildren. He lives in Worcester, Massachusetts with his wife and step-daughter.show more

Rating details

55 ratings
3.29 out of 5 stars
5 9% (5)
4 33% (18)
3 36% (20)
2 22% (12)
1 0% (0)
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