Books in Brief

Open Every Door: Mary Mottley-Mme. Marie de Tocqueville, by Sheila Le Sueur, translated by Claudine Martin-Yurth (Mesa, AZ: Dandelion Books, 340 pp., $26.95).  Alexis de Tocqueville’s wife was Mary Mottley, an Englishwoman.  His biographers have never written more than a couple of sentences about her.  This is regrettable because Mary was an extraordinary woman, because the marriage was an extraordinarily good one, and because their correspondence is worth reading.  Extraordinary, too, was this aristocrat’s choice of a middle-class English governess for his wife.  They were married in 1835, when the first volume of Democracy in America was published and before he started writing the second.  Now we have Open Every Door, a substantial account of Mary and her English family.  Sheila Le Sueur has devoted decades of her life to her research of Mary’s ancestry and of her youth.  Le Sueur is a nurse, not a professional historian.  Her book includes matters that are not too important—but she has made an invaluable contribution to every future (and present) student of Tocqueville.  

        —John Lukacs

Why America Misunderstands the World: National Experience...