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My Three Fathers

by Bill Patten

Bill Patten grew up in the heart of privileged society to American parents-a debutante mother, a diplomatic father-stationed in Europe. Weekends away from his English boarding school were often spent at the regal country estates of important policy makers and historical figures of the mid-twentieth century. When Bill was twelve years old, his father, William Patten, died, and his mother remarried the renowned columnist Joe Alsop. Patten was swept into Washington during the Kennedy years, where he bore witness to his stepfather's legendary power-brokering, and watched a very different father figure at work. In 1996, when he was forty-seven years old, Bill Patten learned that his biological father was not William Patten, but the noted English diplomat, Duff Cooper. In this quest to know his triumvirate of fathers, Bill Patten offers an unforgettable memoir. My Three Fathersis a search for identity-and a luscious chronicle of a fascinating, bygone era of American aristocracy.

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