Five Sisters by James Fox
The Langhornes of Virginia

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Synopsis

The author of the bestseller White Mischief tells the story of the beautiful Langhorne sisters, who lived at the Pinnacle of high and powerful society from the end of the Civil War through the Second World War. Making their way across two continents, they left in their wakes rich husbands, fame, adoration, and scandal.
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 James Fox draws on unpublished correspondence between the sisters and their husbands, lovers, children, and the powerful and glamorous of their day to construct a plural topography with the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.
 

About James Fox

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James Fox was born in Washington, D.C., in 1945. He worked as a journalist in Africa, and later at the Sunday Times in London. He is the author of the bestselling White Mischief.
 
Published February 21, 2001 by Simon & Schuster. 496 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Five Sisters

Publishers Weekly

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Beginning in the genteel poverty of post- Civil War Richmond, Va., transformed by Langhorne pere's belated success as a railroad tycoon, the Langhorne sisters' trajectories spanned the upper reaches o

Feb 28 2000 | Read Full Review of Five Sisters: The Langhornes ...

Publishers Weekly

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Instead, readers are shortchanged and will be put off by an excessive focus on Lady Astor (Lizzie and Irene are almost totally ignored, Phyllis plays second fiddle and Nora left field) and an overemphasis on drearily repetitive aspects of dysfunctional family life (while crucial aspects of social...

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Entertainment Weekly

The five daughters of Virginia railroad entrepreneur Chiswell Langhorne (1843-1919) and his wife, Nancy, graced the American and continental social scenes as the 19th century dissolved into the 20th.

Apr 12 2000 | Read Full Review of Five Sisters: The Langhornes ...

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