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The Duff Cooper Diaries: 1915-1951

The Duff Cooper Diaries: 1915-1951 [Kindle Edition]

John Julius Norwich
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Product Description


fascinating for two things: their testament to an exhilarating century and their witness to a vanished age of power and privilege... What a man. (THE OBSERVER - PAPERBACK OF THE WEEK)

Cooper offers a view on some of the political issues which dominated the first half of the 20th century... as well as an insight into his extravagant social life.

This is a fabulous, jaw-dropping read. (Robbie Hudson SUNDAY TIMES)

compelling (DAILY TELEGRAPH)

Duff Cooper was as close to the action as anyone during the dramatic events of the mid-20th century. He was also comically priapic, commiting enough sexual indiscretions to fill a dozen diaries. (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)

He discusses serious things intelligently, and casts and glittering and laconic light on a lost world of luxury and highly strung affairs, many of them his own. (SUNDAY TIMES)

it's the combination of the public with the personal that makes these diaries riveting. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

Book Description

The long awaited and highly revealing diaries of the politician, diplomat, and socialite (married to Lady Diana Cooper)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5439 KB
  • Print Length: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (20 Mar 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #140,308 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a lucky man 28 April 2007
By D. W. Miller VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read a lot of diaries and this one is well up there with the most informative and entertaining. I found Cooper to be a man who grew up during the course of these diaries and from playboy status became a very thoughtful minister at the time of impending war with Germany.

Fascinating to hear of his obsessions with women,good food and drink. Not perhaps a nice man as he clearly cheated on his beautiful wife many times.

The insights into relationships with important figures of the day are a helpful aid to understanding these complicated personalities. If you like diaries please try Harold Nicholson's they are probably better and more carefully written and cover a similar period of time.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Insightful 26 Jan 2007
I chose this book on a whim after seeing it in a bookshop. Although I barely knew anything about Duff Cooper I was instantly attracted by the anecdotes and events chronicled in this unique collection of diaries. Duff Cooper was witness to the most key events in Britain's history between 1914-1950, including his experience on the front line in WW1. Throughout Cooper describes the social scene that he belonged to and the famous faces he frequently met and became friends with.

Although Duff Cooper may not seem an easy man to like, his diaries are gripping. Like the biographies of the Mitford Girls these diaries give an insight into an almost forgotten world. The book is excellently edited with handy footnotes to explain the people Cooper encounters. Easy to dip in and out of this book is a must for anyone who wants an inside look into the private lives of politicians and a taste of life during and between the wars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disappointing 19 Nov 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is rather a disappointment. Duff Cooper was a witness to some of the important events of the century and I hoped he would provide some further insight to these events. No, he ends the diary for 5 years or so after his resignation over Munich. ( Cadogan says good riddance to bad rubbish at this). There are other gaps. For instance I would have liked his views on Baldwin and that crew. So we do not get anything on the outbreak of war or on the Norwegian debate or very much about Churchill. He is good and important on de Gaulle but this is the exception rather than the rule. So this does not supplant the diaries of Cadogan, Nicolson and Channon.
On the other hand Cooper is an inveterate womaniser, drinker and socialite and like his son writes well. So it gives a strangely coloured portrait of the age. Questions remain: what did women see in him, how did he manage to drink so much.Cadogan records him sleeping through a cabinet meeting. Perhaps that is the answer.
Well edited, good photos and captions but slightly disappointing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The diaries of a playboy politician 8 Mar 2014
Duff Cooper could have been a great diarist. Indeed, he could have been a great many things. In his time, he was a successful diplomat, politician, author and columnist, a courageous soldier and a good deal more. However, above all, he was a man who loved life: good food, good wine, beautiful women (usually somebody else's), and a fine party.

As a result, he wasn't quite as successful in any of his professional fields as he could have been, as he never quite devoted himself to them in the way that would have been necessary; the sacrifice to his social life would have been too great. On the other hand, had he made that sacrifice, the diaries wouldn't be what they are and what makes them so fascinating: a brutally candid insight into the lives of the upper and upper-middle classes in the first half of the century, in or near power.

What emerges is not a very edifying picture to modern eyes: an endless stream of dinners, luncheons and parties set against a backdrop of war, recession and unemployment. Nor does Cooper himself emerge in a glowing light: serially unfaithful to his wife (though apart from during their courtship, she doesn't seem to mind), which is just one aspect of what could have been a destructive lack of self-control. He was clearly good company, even if not a good man.

On the other hand, that self-same lack of self-control means this is no work written and polished to show off to future generations (indeed, it was probably written solely for his own amusement, like much else in his life). It is a candid record and all the better for it.

Apart from that very honest aspect, what also makes these first-class diaries are the events they cover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, honest and an inside view of world events 16 Feb 2014
By alex
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very interesting for those interesting in that period. Duff meets all the historical persons and describe them in a very honest manner.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Duff Cooper 29 April 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Both my husband and I have read this book and found it fascinating considering the period of time and events this covers
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Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
These diaries wear their lack of editing very well indeed. Candid comments about key people and the times. Really enjoyable.
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