Alexis Coe is a historian, consulting producer, podcast host, public speaker, essayist, and the New York Times Bestselling Author of both You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George of Washington and Alice+Freda Forever: A Murder in Memphis (soon to be a major motion picture).
As a consulting producer, Alexis worked on History Channel’s three-part series Washington, co-working with Doris Kearns Goodwin and Railsplitter (February 2020). She is the host of podcast “No Man’s Land” from The Wing/Pineapple and co-hosted podcast “Presidents Are People Too!” from Audible. Alexis curated the ACLU’S 100 exhibition and was the assistant curator of the NYPL’s centennial exhibition in Bryant Park.
She has appeared on CNN, the History Channel, C-SPAN, and CBS, and lectured at Columbia, West Point, Georgetown, Sarah Lawrence, NYU, the New School, the University of San Francisco, and many others. She has given talks sponsored by Hulu, Chanel, and Madewell.
In 2016 and 2017, Alexis’ work was included in The Best American Essays (about living as a feminist in Walden, California in Pacific Standard) and The Best American Travel Essays (the New Republic sent her on a seven day, mult-state wagon ride to reenact the Gold Rush), and in 2013, her essay on how marriage helps male professors get ahead was one of the Atlantic’s Great Debates of the Year.
She has contributed to the New Yorker, the New York Times’ opinion section, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, the Paris Review, Elle, and many others.
Learn more about You Never Forget Your First, Alice + Freda Forever, and how to stay in touch below:
“In her form-shattering and myth-crushing book….Coe examines myths with mirth, and writes history with humor… [You Never Forget Your First] is an accessible look at a president who always finishes in the first ranks of our leaders.”
— Boston Globe
“Alexis Coe energetically dusts off an old-boys genre to present a life
in full, without sentiment or whitewashing. It’s a public service, but
it’s also a lot of fun.”
— Irin Carmon, co-author of the New York
Times bestseller Notorious RBG
YOU NEVER FORGET YOUR FIRST
Alexis Coe takes a closer look at our first–and finds he is not quite the man we remember
Young George Washington was raised by a struggling single mother, demanded military promotions, caused an international incident, and never backed down–even when his dysentery got so bad he had to ride with a cushion on his saddle. But after he married Martha, everything changed. Washington became the kind of man who named his dog Sweetlips and hated to leave home. He took up arms against the British only when there was no other way, though he lost more battles than he won.
After an unlikely victory in the Revolutionary War cast him as the nation’s hero, he was desperate to retire, but the founders pressured him into the presidency–twice. When he retired years later, no one talked him out of it. He left the highest office heartbroken over the partisan nightmare his backstabbing cabinet had created.
Back on his plantation, the man who fought for liberty must confront his greatest hypocrisy–what to do with the men, women, and children he owns–before he succumbs to death.
With irresistible style and warm humor, You Never Forget Your First combines rigorous research and lively storytelling that will have readers–including those who thought presidential biographies were just for dads–inhaling every page.
“An astonishing look at love as a tsunami, the wild violence of passion, and a young woman undone by her own heart.
— Caroline Levitt, San Francisco Chronicle
“Coe’s narrative covers the perceptions of sexuality, women’s role in society, racial hierarchy, media manipulation, and even mental health, but she never strays too far from the heart of the story: the tragic romance between two women forty years before the word lesbian would be in circulation.”
— Justin Alvarez, The Paris Review
ALICE + FREDA FOREVER
A MURDER IN MEMPHIS
In 1892, America was obsessed with a teenage murderess, but it wasn’t her crime that shocked the nation―it was her motivation. Nineteen-year-old Alice Mitchell had planned to pass as a man in order to marry her seventeen-year-old fiancée Freda Ward, but when their love letters were discovered, they were forbidden from ever speaking again. Freda adjusted to this fate with an ease that stunned a heartbroken Alice. Her desperation grew with each unanswered letter―and her father’s razor soon went missing. On January 25, Alice publicly slashed her ex-fiancée’s throat.
Her same-sex love was deemed insane by her father that very night, and medical experts agreed: This was a dangerous and incurable perversion. As the courtroom was expanded to accommodate national interest, Alice spent months in jail―including the night that three of her fellow prisoners were lynched (an event that captured the attention of journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells). After a jury of “the finest men in Memphis” declared Alice insane, she was remanded to an asylum, where she died under mysterious circumstances just a few years later.
Alice + Freda Forever recounts this tragic, real-life love story with over 100 illustrated love letters, maps, artifacts, historical documents, newspaper articles, courtroom proceedings, and intimate, domestic scenes.
Stay Connected with Alexis
Visit Alexis at her website: https://www.alexiscoe.com/
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