How Accurate Is the Book the Second Mrs Astor

Title: How Accurate Is the Book “The Second Mrs. Astor”?


“The Second Mrs. Astor” is a compelling biography written by Shana Alexander that delves into the life of Brooke Astor, one of America’s most prominent socialites and philanthropists. However, with any biography, questions arise regarding the accuracy of the information presented. In this article, we will explore the extent to which “The Second Mrs. Astor” can be considered a reliable source and provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding its accuracy.

Accuracy of “The Second Mrs. Astor”:

“The Second Mrs. Astor” is extensively researched, drawing from various sources such as interviews, personal letters, legal documents, and other biographies. Shana Alexander dedicated several years to investigating and understanding the life of Brooke Astor, resulting in a detailed account of her experiences and contributions to society. However, it is important to note that biographies are subjective works that may contain biases or interpretations by the author.

Alexander’s narrative in “The Second Mrs. Astor” is generally regarded as accurate, offering readers valuable insights into Brooke Astor’s life, her marriages, philanthropy, and the controversies surrounding her later years. However, some critics argue that certain events may have been exaggerated or sensationalized to add dramatic effect. It is essential for readers to approach any biography with a critical mindset, cross-referencing multiple sources to arrive at a more comprehensive understanding.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How well-researched is “The Second Mrs. Astor”?

“The Second Mrs. Astor” is meticulously researched, relying on a wide range of sources, including interviews with Astor’s friends, family members, and associates. Alexander also had access to Astor’s personal letters and conducted extensive archival research. While the book’s research is commendable, readers may still find value in exploring other biographies and sources to gain a more thorough understanding of Astor’s life.

2. Is “The Second Mrs. Astor” biased towards or against Brooke Astor?

Shana Alexander’s portrayal of Brooke Astor is generally balanced, presenting both her philanthropic endeavors and the controversies surrounding her. However, some readers argue that the author may lean towards a more sympathetic portrayal of Astor. It is crucial to approach any biography with an open mind, considering multiple perspectives and conducting further research to form a well-rounded opinion.

3. Are there any factual inaccuracies in the book?

While “The Second Mrs. Astor” is largely regarded as accurate, some minor factual errors have been identified by astute readers. These errors, however, do not significantly impact the overall narrative or the general understanding of Brooke Astor’s life. It is advisable to consult other sources or biographies for a more comprehensive understanding of her story.

4. Does the book cover all aspects of Brooke Astor’s life?

“The Second Mrs. Astor” provides a comprehensive account of Astor’s life, focusing on her marriages, social standing, and philanthropic endeavors. However, given the complexity of her life, some readers may find that certain aspects are not explored in great detail. To gain a broader perspective, it is recommended to explore additional biographies and sources that may shed light on other aspects of Astor’s life.


“The Second Mrs. Astor” offers readers a captivating insight into the life of Brooke Astor, one of America’s most influential socialites and philanthropists. While the book is generally regarded as accurate and well-researched, it is essential to approach any biography with a critical mindset, considering multiple perspectives and cross-referencing various sources. By doing so, readers can form a more comprehensive understanding of Brooke Astor’s life and the impact she had on society.

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