The Woman Who Knew Everyone

The Power of Perle Mesta, Washington’s Most Famous Hostess

Coming Soon


By Meryl Gordon

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$44.00 CAD

An in-depth biography of the socialite, political hostess, crusading feminist and United States envoy to Luxembourg, Perle Mesta, from New York Times bestselling author Meryl Gordon.
Perle Mesta was a force to be reckoned with. In her heyday – the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s – this extremely wealthy globe-trotting Washington widow was one of the most famous women in America, garnering as much media attention as Eleanor Roosevelt. Renowned for her world-class parties featuring politicians and celebrities, she was very close to three presidents – Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson. After Truman named her as the first female envoy to Luxembourg, Irving Berlin wrote an entire hit musical based on Perle’s life – “Call Me Madam” – which starred Ethel Merman, ran on Broadway for two years and later became a movie.
Dubbed by Berlin as the “hostess with the mostess’,” Perle inherited serious money (Texas oil) and married even more money (a Pittsburgh steel magnate). She had a rollicking life outside of Washington, befriending such Broadway legends as Merman, Angela Lansbury and Pearl Bailey.  She also had a serious side. A pioneering supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment dating to the 1930’s and influential champion for working women, she was a prodigious Democratic fundraiser and rescued Harry Truman’s financially flailing 1948 campaign.
In this intensely researched biography, author Meryl Gordon chronicles Perle’s lavish life and society adventures in Newport, Manhattan and Washington while highlighting her important, but nearly forgotten contribution to American politics and the feminist movement.


On Sale
Nov 12, 2024
Page Count
512 pages

Meryl Gordon

About the Author

Meryl Gordon is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of A Family Beyond Reproach, Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend and The Phantom of Fifth Avenue. An award-winning journalist, she is a tenured journalism professor at New York University. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, New York Magazine and The New York Times.

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