Annejet van der Zijl

De Amerikaanse prinses

The personal story of an exceptional, courageous woman by the uncrowned queen of Dutch non-fiction

Annejet van der Zijl, Dutch ‘queen of narrative non-fiction’, now gives us the story of Allene Tew (1872-1955), the female Great Gatsby. An ambitious girl from the country, she had five husbands. Each marriage took her higher and higher into the wealthiest and aristocratic circles, and had her living ever more grandly, in a Park Avenue apartment in New York, for instance, to a château near Paris. It was her fourth marriage to a German aristocrat that gave her the nickname ‘the American princess’.

Her life reads like a rags-to-riches fairytale, yet it was far from being a princess’s dream. The young German aristocrat turned out to be a fascist, and out for her fortune. That she had such wealth in the first place is pretty remarkable, given that her first husband, the charming, reckless, moneyed Tod Hostetter, was an inveterate gambler who, at his death, left her with a million-dollar debt. In only one of her five marriages was she happy, to the engineer Anson Burchard. When he died, the society columns called her ‘the richest and saddest widow of the city.’

The greatest sadness of Allene’s life was losing her children. A daughter died in childhood. Her fighter-pilot son died during the First World War, another daughter in the Spanish-flu epidemic that followed. Time and again, death, treachery and disaster forced Allene Tew to pick up the pieces and start life again, in true American fashion. That coping with disaster is very much the theme of the book.

The American Princess is an engaging biography of a resilient woman, as well as a story of the making of twentieth-century America. It quickly became a major bestseller in the Netherlands, read by all sorts of readers.

If anything is American, it is the belief that there can always be a new start,” writes the author. Allene Tew is the personification of this idea, and with its pace and clear, accessible style, the book even reads as if it is American, by its clear accessible style and tempo.

NRC Handelsblad

Non-fiction with more drama than any novel could bear.



Annejet van der Zijl

Annejet van Zijl (b. 1962) is one of the best known and most read literary non-fiction writers of the Netherlands. She is the author of the widely praised biography of popular Dutch children’s writer Annie M.G. Schmidt Anna (2002) which has sold over 100,000 copies. 2004 saw the publication of…

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De Amerikaanse prinses (2015)., 278 pagina's.
Aantal woorden: 60.000
Oplage: 150.000



Weteringschans 259
NL - 1017 XJ Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 20 760 72 10

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