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We Used to Own the Bronx - Memoirs of a Former Debutante

“…a literary treat…Pell gives us a kind of cultural anthropology of the closest thing in America to a landed gentry." —Wall Street Journal

“In "WE USED TO OWN THE BRONX", her revealing and riveting memoir, Eve Pell defies the dictates of her social class—to be charming but not to say what she felt—and bares all. She detonates bombshells and unmasks betrayals on almost every page.” —San Francisco Chronicle.


In the nationally-acclaimed "WE USED TO OWN THE BRONX," Eve Pell gives readers an inside look into the hidden, often bizarre world of America's aristocracy, from debutante balls to servants' quarters, to the fanatical pursuit of blood sports and private, secretive men’s clubs. As she traces her absorbing journey from East Coast debutante to activist to investigative reporter, she provides fascinating insights into the prickly and often perplexing issues of social class in America. Her book is an Award-Winning Finalist in the Autobiography/Memoirs category of the “Best Books 2010” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.

Eve Pell comes from a famous WASP family, growing up on opulent estates staffed by live-in, uniformed servants. Her mother, forbidden to date young Joseph Kennedy, the future president's older brother, (because he was Irish Catholic) secretly met him at the horse races. Her great-grandmother, "the First Lady of Tuxedo Park," held dinner parties for 125 guests at her Tuxedo Park mansion, a liveried footman behind each chair. Eve's cousin, the patrician Senator Claiborne Pell, started Pell grants, which help 5 million students a year obtain a college education.

"WE USED TO OWN THE BRONX" exposes the dark sides of wealth and privilege; her unhappily married mother scandalized New York society by running off with another man. During their parents' bitter divorce, Eve and her baby brother, while en route to visit their mother, were kidnapped by their father; after that, the children had round-the-clock, armed bodyguards.

She shows the underbelly of her Town and Country world of fox-hunts, private schools and elegant cotillions. Find out why she fled her gilded life to get swept up in the whirlwind of radical politics of the 1960s; follow her subsequent adventures and misadventures with bold, charismatic revolutionaries in that turbulent era.

Eve Pell, author of the nationally-acclaimed "WE USED TO OWN THE BRONX,has been interviewed on NPR stations from New York to San Francisoc. An award-winning journalist, she reported for three PBS documentaries. Her writing has appeared in Ms., the San Francisco Chronicle, The Nation and many other publications. Eve Pell also is a gold medal winner in international track and field competition. For more details, click on Biography, above.