Buy Used
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: All inventory in stock! Orders generally ship in 2 business days Books listed as Like New may have a small publishers mark
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Hons and Rebels (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – Sep 2004

See all 18 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
Paperback, Sep 2004
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: New York Review of Books (Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590171101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590171103
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,893,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE COTSWOLD COUNTRY, old and quaint, ridden with ghosts and legends, is today very much on the tourist route. Read the first page
Explore More
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DorsetMum on 30 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very interesting insight into the life of Jessica Mitford and the rest of her extraordinary family. Easy to read and give a good background to life in pre-war Great Britain.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The chapters about her childhood were fascinating, although I should not have liked to have been one of the siblings! The rest of the book (which was so old it fell apart as I read it, yet had been sold as in 'good condition') was mediocre and I merely scanned through it.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Marcus on 24 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very nice
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 30 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Poignant memoir of happier days 4 Mar. 2005
By Writer - Published on
Format: Paperback
One of my favourite books of all time, Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels is her personal account of her childhood as a member of the eccentric, aristocratic family of Lord and Lady Redesdale, and of what happened after that - when she ran away from home to fight in the Spanish Civil War, eloping with a distant cousin. The family were a constant presence in the British press in the first half of the twentieth century, and this book gives the story of their lives from the other side. Impossibly impractical, the author was entirely unprepared for any semblance of independent living - she writes amusingly of her early attempts at housekeeping, including doing the washing-up by washing, drying and putting away each dish before tackling the next one, and sweeping the staircase from the bottom to the top. Personal tragedies, however, are glossed over - the sudden deaths of two of her children are barely mentioned, overshadowed by the family's associations with such famous historical figures as Churchill and Hitler.

As another reviewer mentioned, 'Decca', as she was known, wasn't one to let the truth get in the way of a good story, so don't take every word as gospel - just enjoy this book for what it is, a highly original and amusing memoir.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A Girl Gone Wild 5 April 2009
By Daniel Myers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wodehouse always averred that he based all his characters (Bertie and chums) on actual characters he had known coming of age in an England roughly contemporaneous with the one Jessica (Decca) Mitford chronicles here. People, even ardent fans, have tended toward the skeptical side regarding Wodehouse's claim. This memoir should lay much of this skepticism to rest. Decca, her sisters and extended family come across as nothing so much as non-fiction Wodehouse - No, not an oxymoron! Above all, this memoir is full of the beauty, eccentricity, insouciance and joy of youth which comes to know sadness and tragedy all too soon.

The only way to effectively convey the rum atmosphere of the rural gentry in which Decca was nurtured - now completely vanished from England - is to proffer some select passages. Here, for example, is the family wending their privileged way to the parish church on a typical Sunday:

"Every Sunday morning, rain or shine, we stumped off down the hill with Nanny, governess, Miranda, several dogs, Boud's goat, Enid, her pet snake, and my pet dove. Some of the graves in Swinbrook churchyard were conveniently surrounded by high railings for better preservation and privacy. These made good cages for the assorted animals, whose loud yelps, cooing and baaing blended nicely with the lusty voices of the village choir and effectively drowned out most of the ten-minute sermon."

And we have eccentric Uncles instead of Wodehouse's eccentric Aunts, but again, real ones:

"Uncle Tommy presided as magistrate at the local police court, and in this capacity doled out his own ideas of justice to the local citizenry. He was particularly proud of having given a three months' jail sentence to a woman driver who accidentally ran her car into a cow on a dark night: `Clap `em in the brig! That's one way of keeping these damn' women off the road.'"

I'm afraid that such options are no longer open to us, fellows!

Of course, most of this book is given to Decca's break with her Wodehousian upbringing, her elopement with Esmond Romilly and ensuing adventures in Spain, the time back in England in the commune on Rotherhithe Street (which, curiously, was the only part of the book which could have been set in England during the 80's when I was an adolescent - just mix in loud music and illicit drugs) and their final idyllic excursion to America. There's a piece on American and British English which is priceless. Americans, you do pronounce your "t" s as "d" s without being aware of it. Don't believe me? - Say "thirty-three" quickly, without thinking! - But that's alright; you remain a much friendlier people and more open society, as Decca and Osmond found.

The ending is circumspect, as befits the onset of war and Osmond's death in it. And, of course, there's much to and fro amongst the Mitfords and their biographers about just how scrupulously honest Decca has been here. But the intrepid reader should put such quibbles aside. As Jessica Mitford puts it here:

"It is perhaps futile to try to interpret the actions of another - one may be so completely wrong;"

And this memoir is so filled with sparkling actions, enchanting circumstances and the wild joys as well as tumbles of any youth worth the having, that I can't imagine any reader not taking delight in it.---I can't think of any laud higher for such a book.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Honestly wonderful 19 Oct. 2007
By Karen N. Finlay - Published on
Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved this book. I had just finished reading the very long and very good "The Sisters" about the Mitfords, and wanted more when I was finished. Jessica ("Decca") was the most fascinating of all -- the one who ran away to Spain and America and became widely known for her politics and her book, "The American Way of Death." (and an Oakland resident, like myself, which is always intriguing!)

"Hons and Rebels" is charming, witty, and in its pages is not only an interesting glimpse of life in upper class England between the wars, but a love story as well, as she retells the story the story of her romance with her first husband, Esmond.

I never heard Mitford speak, but her voice comes through strongly in this book -- witty, determined, able to laugh at herself and family, but serious about her politics and trying to get by as a young idealistic couple in America. (And I imagine a very posh British accent...) What I also liked was how she treated the relationship with her closest sister, Unity, who, as a Nazi sympathizer, was the polar political opposite of Decca. What a family.

Highly, highly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Mitfords--What a Family! 27 Jun. 2010
By carol irvin - Published on
Format: Paperback
While I've been reading Nancy Mitford's novels, I came across her younger sister's (Jessica's) autobiography, HONS AND REBELS. Jessica was more famous than Nancy in America because of her later ground breaking work on the American funeral industry, THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH.

What is remarkable about HONS AND REBELS is that Jessica gives us the real story of the characters in Nancy's fiction, their family. These people are such idiosyncratic characters that it doesn't matter whether they are in fiction or non--they are absolutely fascinating plus uproariously funny. Front and center is their father, who can hold his own among any character real or imagined. If you are sick of today's politically correct, rather insipid men in charge, then you need to experience their father, the Baron. He was such an enduring character in England that upon his death in 1958, the writer of his obituary for the TIMES was himself confused, as he kept mixing up the real Baron with his daughters' literary creations in the obituary.

Mitford also covers the way her family, like much of the British aristocracy, were all over the map about political affiliation. She became a Communist, two of her sisters became fascists and openly consorted with Hitler, one sister became the Duchess of Devonshire as part of the Old English guard. This takes us up to the beginning of World War II.

J.K. Rowling, author of the HARRY POTTER books, considers this book one of the greatest influences upon her in becoming a writer. I would say Rowling's sense of the absurd was well kindled by Jessica Mitford plus also her family's political affiliations echo Rowling's account of the wizarding world's dealings with Lord Voldemort.

For those into love stories, this is also a recounting of Jessica's whirlwind marriage to Esmond Reilley, the love of her life.

There is also a very good introduction by writer Christopher Hitchens to this edition of the book.

Visit my blog with link given on my profile page here or use this phonetically given URL (livingasseniors dot blogspot dot com). Friday's entry will always be weekend entertainment recs from my 5 star Amazon reviews in film, tv, books and music. These are very heavy on buried treasures and hidden gems. My blogspot is published on Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Amazing book 11 Jun. 2009
By Lolly - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you like Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate, you will love this book. This is the real story, told from the perspective of Jessica Mitford and is an absolute pleasure to read.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know