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A Life of Contrasts: The Autobiography

A Life of Contrasts: The Autobiography [Kindle Edition]

Diana Mitford
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Her book reads like brilliant talk; she is constitutionally incapable of being dull.' Jonathan Raban -- Jonathan Raban, Sunday Times

'She was clearly a star...' -- Anne de Courcy, in The Viceroy's Daughters

‘A Life of Contrasts is a candid, page-turning memoir'. -- Mary Lovell

‘Sharp, amusing and well-written.' -- Hugh Thomas, New Statesman

‘a rare treat.' -- Selina Hastings

Product Description

‘Beautifully written.’ Valerie Grove, The Times ‘Martini-dry wit.’ Irish Times ‘Often pure Wodehouse.’ Financial Times ‘Uncompromising.’ A.N. Wilson, Sunday Telegraph ‘It has all her charm.’ Laura Thompson, A Good Read, BBC Radio 4 ‘Brilliant.’ Evening Standard ‘A Life of Contrasts is a candid, page-turning memoir, written by a woman who will—without any doubt—be viewed by history as one of the most fascinating personalities of the Twentieth Century.’ Mary S. Lovell ‘Lady Mosley writes extremely well… Her book reads like brilliant talk; her characters live and die in a single phrase… An autobiography of real distinction.' Jonathan Raban, Sunday Times ‘I envy any reader coming for the first time to A Life of Contrasts, Diana Mosley’s account of her own eventful past, for he has a rare treat in front of him.’ Selina Hastings ‘Sharp, amusing and well-written’ Hugh Thomas, New Statesman ‘Wholly if grittily, a Mitford book… the reader will be flung between delight and dismay as he reads on… To all those not averse to a little powdered glass in their Bombe Surprise: enjoy.’ The Times ‘Other members of the Mitford family do not have the monopoly of brilliant and amusing writing.’ The Tatler ‘She emerges among all else as feminine…’ Mary Warnock, The Listener ‘Animated and revealing.’ Hibernia ‘Witty and amusing.’ Catholic Herald ‘She was clearly a star.’ Anne de Courcy in The Viceroy’s Daughters The hilarious autobiography of the most glamorous of the Bright Young Things. Diana Mitford describes in the inimitable Mitford way how it came about that both Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler adored her, and Evelyn Waugh and Oswald Mosley fell in love with her.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 619 KB
  • Print Length: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Gibson Square (26 Oct 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7GIYM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #4,511 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and frightening in equal turns 1 Feb 2003
I bought this book out of curiosity, wondering how the author would attempt to reconcile herself to her rather dubious past, I quickly discovered that she was to make no such attempt whatsoever. She happily relates attendance at Nazi rallies and cosy fireside chats with Hitler, presenting Fascism as a perfectly respectable political opinion, the violence at Moseley's rallies described as being caused entirely by communist agitators.
She comes across as frightfully upper class, and gives lavish descriptions of the interior decor of every house she ever lived in - the phrase "Louis XVI furniture" occurs with astonishing regularity! This is in sharp contrast to her imprisonment - for three years, without any trial or judgement -in the atmospherically described dark and squalid Holloway.
The book is made fascinating, not only by the writer's unashamedly outrageous opinions, but also by the intriguing cast of characters that pass through it: her sister Unity, a stronger Fascist than Diana, who attempted suicide when England declared war on Germany, then spent the rest of her short life searching, it seems in vain, for spiritual truth - Winston Churchill, described throughout as "Cousin Winston" - Evelyn Waugh, who dedicates a book to her - Magda Goebbels, whom Diana states did the right thing by killing herself and her children - and, of course, Mosley himself, referred to throughout by Diana as simply "M", and who remains, through to the last page, strangely enigmatic.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Life That Created Polarized Opinions 5 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"After our four months away we had felt ready to face the Winter and the myriad trivial annoyances inseparable from life in England under a Labour government"

With such a sentence an individual, however brave, humane, well-mannered and considerate, can polarize his or her reading public. With Diana Mosley, however, the dye was in all probability already cast as her reputation had preceded her even though that might have been largely tarnished in the public mind by a hostile press.

I shall attempt to confine my review to the book and not extend any criticism to the author herself. With an autobiography this is not always self-evident. I personally found this book extremely interesting and informative while at the same time felt that there was a certain lack of cohesive planning although the work was chronological enough.

There are two central things in her life she tries to justify in this book - one private and one political. The former is her decision to leave her first husband Bryan Guinness by whom she has already two young children to live with a married man with three children twelve years her senior. The latter concerns her belief that the British Union of Fascists were patriots who would in the last resort fight against Germany and everything that Hitler stood for.

When her affair became known there is no doubt that she was aware of shocking not only her parents that she loved dearly but also very nearly all her close friends. That she persisted, that Bryan behaved like a gentleman, and that they could agree on all important matters for the children's sake showed great maturity on both sides. Although Diana adds a short chapter "Flashback" at the end of this reprint she is still quite reticent in giving the full story.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diana - the immortal fascist 7 May 2002
By A Customer
Lady Mosley - aristocrat, beauty, wit, friend of Hitler and undiluted fascist: a mix that still captivates and fascinates many sixty two years after she was imprisoned with her husband, the Britsh Union of Fascists leader, Sir Oswald, in 1940. This book shows her to be more than an echo of another era. She is still remarkably unrepentant and whatever one thinks about her extraordinary politcs (''such a pity that the jews didn't all go to Madagscar or somewhere,'' she tell us breezily) Diana Mosley remains a strangely compelling figure. Plainly such extremism, one could argue, is at least refreshingly honest, although it must be added, more than a little chilling too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Diana Mitford: Interesting Lady 7 April 2013
By Carole
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this book down, she writes very modestly about herself and obviously she is a very intelligent woman who moved in all the right circles as one of her class would do. Her story paces along - lots of lovely anecdotal tit-bits about her famous family and all the people she rubbed shoulders with. I didn't realise she was imprisoned during the war without trial, although her time couldn't have been easy she seemed to cope with the harshness of prison life very well and she certainly wasn't embittered by her experience. She talks adoringly about Mosley who was the love of her life and her sister Unity's sad demise. There is a slightly eccentric Britishness about the family - something that is now long gone - imagine taking your shetland pony into your carriage on a train today! All good stuff for anyone who enjoys social history
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking. 22 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this thinking I wasn't going to like Diana, but I did, can't say I agreed with everything she said and did, but I did like her, she was interesting vibrant and honest. I think it does us good to read such things, being made to think can never be a bad thing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read 18 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Have always been fascinated by the life and times of the Mitford sisters and found this biography to be totally engrossing.
I alternated between enthrallment and repulsion during this read but was never bored!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
The Mitford women are all interesting in their very individual styles. This autobiography gives us a little insight into the psyche of Diana, Lady Moseley, but one cannot but feel... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Mrs. B. Adams
4.0 out of 5 stars A Life of Contrasts: The Autobiography
This book was one of the earliest biographies I read of the Mitford sisters. To begin with Diana seemed to have a charmed life, she married Bryan Guinness and had two children. Read more
Published 26 days ago by George's Mum
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read
This is the first book I have read about the Mitford sisters and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fascinating, interesting, educational and entertaining . I read it over 2 days. Read more
Published 1 month ago by margo b
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Have read lots of books on the Mitfords thought this one rather shallow - too much name dropping and not enough substance
Published 3 months ago by Valerie Davies
4.0 out of 5 stars Mitford
A very enjoyable read with the ups and downs of her life making interesting reading. Moseley added to the interest.
Published 4 months ago by pen
5.0 out of 5 stars Diana Mitford.The Autobiogaphy.
Loved it! A fan of The Mitford Sisters and family.Three of the sisters that I've read write slightly different but not much . Each one writes well, with interest.
Published 5 months ago by Linda Howarth
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating on several levels
I bought this for the book by Diana Mitford but was ultimately most interested in the book by Diana Mosley. Read more
Published 6 months ago by R. M. M.
5.0 out of 5 stars diana mitford
fantastic and compelling read,would recommened to everyone,a great insight to a very privelleged way of life and what she overcame through her life.a great read
Published 7 months ago by highland lassie
4.0 out of 5 stars A Life of Contrasts
I have always been intrigued by the Mitford family but have only recently read books by Nancy Mitford. Read more
Published 7 months ago by lai
2.0 out of 5 stars A life of name droppping
Really rather tedious, vising here and there with lots of lovely houses. The family are very interesting but not this book,
Published 10 months ago by linda rockall
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