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The Langhornes of Virginia
Lizzie, Irene, Nancy, Phyllis, and Nora were born in Virginia to a family impoverished by the Civil War. Their father remade his fortune by collaborating with the Yankees and building rail-roads; the sisters became southern belles and northern debutantes. James Fox draws on unpublished correspondence between the sisters and their husbands, lovers, children, and the powerful and glamorous of their day to construct a plural topography with the scope of a grand novel and the pace of a historical thriller.
At its center is the most famous sister, Nancy, who married Waldorf Astor, one of the richest men in the world. Heroic, hilarious, magnetically charming, and a bully, Lady Astor became Britain's first female MP, championing women's rights and the poor. The beautiful Irene married Charles Dana Gibson and was the model for the Gibson Girl. The author's grandmother, Phyllis, married a famous economist, one of the architects of modern Europe.
Fox has written an absorbing and spirited, intimate and sweeping account of extraordinary women at the highest reaches of society, their adventures set against the background of a tumultuous century.
496 pages; ISBN 9780743217002