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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It
Absolutely gripping. This is the edited version which makes one want to start again and buy the separate editions of his diaries.
Published 5 months ago by Mrs E Wood

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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oldland reader
Lees Milne is always good if you have the appropriate interest. However, Michael Block's editing becomes extremely irritating because he always gives you uninformative genealogical information (i.e. "2nd eldest son of Julia Pettifer-Blythe, 3rd daughter of Lord Coalfield.") but very, very, very rarely gives you even the tiniest background hint to illuminate the, now...
Published on 27 Aug 2009 by Cookie


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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oldland reader, 27 Aug 2009
This review is from: Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 (Paperback)
Lees Milne is always good if you have the appropriate interest. However, Michael Block's editing becomes extremely irritating because he always gives you uninformative genealogical information (i.e. "2nd eldest son of Julia Pettifer-Blythe, 3rd daughter of Lord Coalfield.") but very, very, very rarely gives you even the tiniest background hint to illuminate the, now obscure, context of people, places or observations.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Young snob collects titled acquaintances., 12 Jun 2012
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This review is from: Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 (Paperback)
I thought I would love this book, and the Product Description here on Amazon quoted phrases like "the greatest diarist of our times", and "nothing short of phenomenal....great masterpiece of English literature", so I had no doubt it would be good. I can only suppose the people who said these things were friends of James Lees-Milne, because they can't have been serious!
Margaret Jourdain was more truthful when she told JL-M his book 'does not hang together, a third of it must be cut, and the his style is atrocious'.
I finally gave up a few pages into the 1953 section, having had enough of him - too 'cliquey, dated, prejudiced, out of touch with the new world and preposterously exclusive' - to quote the author, writing of his own generation - he was, unfortunately, describing himself, as he comes across in these diaries.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars And The Years Flow On...and on and on..., 26 Oct 2009
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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I tired in the end of these nonetheless quite interesting diaries, comparable to the Woodrow Wyatt diaries. The author was probably the single most important saviour for the National Trust of the English country houses. He (not in this volume) regretted never having fought against "the forces of world destruction" for Franco, but was not a National Socialist nor even Fascist. "Reactionary" is a possible label, perhaps. He hates the war (WW2) but mainly for the destruction it entails rather than the loss of human life (it seems to me).

One has to be a bit careful in believing all one reads in any diary: I met only one person (once) who is in these diaries, Peter Fleetwood-Hesketh, who is said to have had a drawling and exagerrated voice, though I (admittedly, 30 years later than in these diaries, about 1975) found his voice normal and pleasant. And the book, while noting that he was an architect and artist (and that his family owned almost the whole town of Southport, Lancashire --another fact of which I was unaware--) failed to mention that he was dropped as a British agent into France around the time of the Normandy Landings. Sometimes facts are given which surprise. I was surprised to read that my one-time girlfriend's aunt had been elevated to the life peerage. You live and learn, even if you learn, at times, the irrelevant...that's another problem with diaries.

A good read but it did tire me in the end and I rushed the last fifth of the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy It, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 (Paperback)
Absolutely gripping. This is the edited version which makes one want to start again and buy the separate editions of his diaries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great books and great gifts carried to my door can't ask for more, 12 Dec 2013
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loved michael bloch's book am a big fan of james lees-milne his diaries reveal a world now lost to us.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Diaries 1942 - 1954, 18 Nov 2013
James Lees-Milne is a man I would have avoided in actual life. His diaries reveal that he was in varying degrees a prejudicial, class conscious, ingratiating snob who numbered amongst his friends and acquaintances 1930s upper crust appeasers including some that held decidedly pro Hitler sympathies. However, he wrote brilliant prose and his descriptions of country houses that he inspected on behalf of the National Trust display impressive architectural knowledge and are models of technical precision. His diaries are addictive and his account of the eccentric lives of the British upper classes fascinating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insights, 9 Nov 2013
By 
C. A. Sims - See all my reviews
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I chose this rating because the Diaries not only offer insights into an individual life but give a unique perspective on the history of the times. The author name-drops a fascinating miscellany of brilliantly drawn friends and acquaintances and expounds upon personalities with insight, wit and --occasionally- a glancing touch of malice. As a reader, I found the personality of Lees-Milne very engaging and I'm enjoying this book so much that I've ordered the later diaries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive if snobbish, 17 Sep 2013
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Although I am not particuarly interested in architecture, I love the marvelous vignettes of the people he meets and the extraordinarily evocative descriptions of country scenes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous, 31 July 2013
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This review is from: Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 (Paperback)
Jim is a 'national treasure' in my opinion - not merely in terms of all the incredible work he did for the National Trust, but his diaires for this period give an invaluable insight into the mind of someone mourning that wonderful, lost world of the inter-war years. A must for anyone interested in this period of 20th century history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life and opinions of a snob!, 18 Dec 2012
By 
John Fox - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 (Paperback)
This collection of diary entries is hilarious in parts for its often outrageous views on so called celebrities and society personalities, whose company the author seems to crave. The book overflows with names of the wartime period and his constant travels on behalf of the National Trust, visiting the aristocracy in their historic houses is fascinating.
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Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1
Diaries, 1942-1954: v. 1 by Michael Bloch (Paperback - 4 Oct 2007)
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