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Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel

Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel [Kindle Edition]

Meredith Whitford
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Jessica Mitford was “the one who got away” in her famous family.

While most the upper-crust Mitfords were drawn to fascism and admired Hitler Jessica made her home on the left of the political spectrum.

So did her cousin Esmond Romilly, the nephew of Winston Churchill and a veteran of the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937, when she was 19 and he was 18, Jessica and Esmond met.

With their shared ideals, they fell madly in love -- and ran away together.

Their families, and even the government, tried to stop them.

But their love overcame all obstacles.

And yet tragedy was lurking around the corner - and with the outbreak of war Jessica would lose Esmond forever.

'Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel' is the fascinating story of a women who grew up in a world of privilege - but who was not afraid to strike out on her own.
She was a rebel - against her class and her family.

Meredith Whitford's ground-breaking book uses previously unpublished documents and family sources to investigate a part of her life that has received little attention from the Mitford Industry.

It is essential reading for anyone interested in the Mitford family -- and the years leading up to and after the Second World War.

And it is a window on an remarkable era - and a remarkable women.

'At last we get to read the "behind the scenes" story of Decca and Esmond's scandalous elopement during the turbulent 30s.' Lyndsy Spence author of The Mitford Girls Guide to Life.

Endeavour Press is the UK's leading independent publisher of digital books.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1477 KB
  • Print Length: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Endeavour Press Ltd. (25 April 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #24,021 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening 28 April 2013
Meredith Whitford has gone to a lot of effort to research Esmond Romilly's life, and her findings give this new biography a distinct edge. A lot of her early text is solely focused on Esmond rather than Jessica Mitford, which allows the reader to understand the nature of the rebellious schoolboy. In Mitford lore he is portrayed as half villain, half delinquent, but as Whitford has pointed out, this is simply not true. Halfway into the text we are properly introduced to Jessica Mitford, and although a lot of the Mitford family info has been recycled (Unity, Diana, Nancy etc), her relationship with Esmond is the main focus. It is as much Esmond's story as it is Jessica's.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chaotic lives 22 Jun 2013
Many years ago I indulged in the Mitford saga, read all the books and followed their chaotic lives. So being introduced to Jessica again, but this time with her life bound to Esmond Romilly, was a new experience, and filled in many unanswered questions. Meredith Whitford has done the world a sterling service with this work. A text that flows, illuminated by the many family letters and correspondence. The Spanish Civil War and World War Two loom large in the early years of their relationship and marriage, only to eventually swamp it. I particularly liked the way the pre-war details provided the mis-en-scene to the disintegrating family fraught with political ambitions, indifference, misguided beliefs and personal feuds, yet managing a kind of unifying love. Esmond's connections by family to the peak of political power and persuasion, provides added depth as the impact of war increases and explodes.
Highly recommended as a passage from mid-twentieth century evolution. Treason
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More informative than I was expecting 16 Sep 2013
By noelle
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I've read all the Mitford bio's and was expecting this book to rely heavily on what has already been exhaustively covered in print. But the author has covered new ground in what she has written about Esmond and his background and also casts new light on Jessica in terms of her relationship with him and the fall-out with her family. I also appreciated the chapters on historical events to inform their personal histories.

Good, too, to have a pro-Jessica rebuttal of some of the inaccuracies in works written by the pro-Diana Mosley camp, especially their reliance on Toynbee as a source of some of the couple's more questionable behaviour. A mistake to interpret what was obviously a wind-up as gospel truth.

Well worth reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Authentic account of an overshadowed sister 8 May 2013
Thinking back on the other books I have read on the Mitford sisters, Jessica Mitford tends to get slightly lost or just overpowered by her extremist sisters. Meredith Whitford's book explores Jessica's life both with and apart from her sisters, giving her an identity which is not just defined in relation, or as a backlash to her family's right-wing, facist views. Meredith includes photographs and various snippets from letters which really brings the narrative to life. Jessica Mitford: Churchill's Rebel definitely deserves a place in the Mitford cannon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking love story 10 May 2013
What little I did know about Jessica Mitford either tended to be about her as a young girl growing up in her childhood home, or more recently, her opinions and relationships in later years. I did not know much at all about her marriage to Esmond Romilly, Churchill's nephew, and I found the young and tragic love story between Decca and Esmond heartbreaking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shines a new light on the Romilly brothers 16 Dec 2013
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I was very interested to read Meredith Whitford's book, most particularly because it embraces the lives of both Romilly brothers. They would be extraordinary in any era, but in the one they lived in, what comes across most strongly is their passion and commitment to what they believed to be right, and their bravery and ingenuity.

It is very sad that both lives were cut short. The author does shine a great light on them, and I'm very pleased to have read this part of the author's undeniably good research.

I'm only not giving it five stars for three reasons.

a) There are several typos
b) I disagree that 'The House of Mitford' was written from a right-wing perspective. The authors were fairly even-handed with the source material they had, and it was Jessica Mitford's own choice not to 'have her say' in that book about her life, and Esmond's. They asked her, she refused. This was perverse behaviour on her part, when she famously insisted on 'having her say' in Julian Jebb's documentary about Nancy Mitford.
c) I feel it is both a tad rude and rather sour of the author to refer to Mary S Lovell as 'Lovell', presumably from envy of the access to the Mitford archive that Ms Lovell got, and the author was denied. And yet she uses a great deal that was in Mary S Lovell's book....

That said, a book to add to anyone's Mitford collection - if only the author could have had her manuscript properly proof-read!
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