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Customer Review

32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Heavily biased account, 5 May 2010
This review is from: The Mitford Girls: The Biography of an Extraordinary Family (Paperback)
I have never written a review on Amazon before but was so annoyed by the authors biased account of the Mitford sisters that I felt I had to say something. This book is interesting purely because the Mitford sisters were interesting, not because this book is particularly well written.

The author is obviously very taken with Diana Mitford and gushes throughout. There is no criticism about Diana's support of fascsim or friendship with Hitler. The author tries to prevent the reader from judging the Moselys throughout and goes in to much detail about the hardship they faced in prison during the war years. I also find it strange that she never mentions Diana's opinion on Hitler's policies towards the Jews. We hear how Unity Mitford laughed when she learned that one leading Nazi had made a group of Jewish people mow a field of grass with their teeth. What did the Moselys think of this? How could they still like Hitler when stories like this were coming to light before the war?
I actually think this books does Diana a disservice because all we really hear about her is that she is beautiful and very much in love with Mosely. Surely there was more to her, good and bad.

I found the authors description of Decca Mitford harsh. Decca's support of the communist party is not forgiven nearly as easily as Diana's support of fascism. Decca gives birth to a stillborn daughter and people at the time commented that this could be due to Decca's communist activities. Instead of highlighting how hurtful and unfair this is the author comments that this just shows how much people don't like being told which political beliefs to hold.
Decca sounds like an inspirational woman, staying true to her politics throughout her life. Unlike Diana and Sydney she is also critical about her earlier beliefs and is far more self aware.
Both Decca's marriages sound loving and fulfilling yet these marriages are not given the great billing that the Mosely marraige is given (despite Oswald Mosely's many affairs).

It is a shame that the author is so biased because as I say they are a very interesting family. I can't help but think this book is so biased because Diana Mitford was still alive when the book was published. The author had met and very much liked Diana Mitford which really does colour her account of the sisters lives.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Jun 2012 22:36:35 BDT
T. Griffith says:
I bought the book because I heard an account of their lives on the radio and was intrigued... It seems irrelevant now that I have it though and I will sell it before finishing it...

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Nov 2012 10:07:06 GMT
For me it was the presumed and rather sickeningly gushing intimacy of using everyone's family nicknames that drove me up the wall. Why not just stick to their given names so we knew who we were reading about. (only 3/4 the way through so far...)

Posted on 7 Sep 2015 22:48:55 BDT
Jessica's first child was not still-born, but died in infancy, of a common childhood disease. Later, her son, Nicholas, was killed in a cycling accident, in his mid-teens. Certainly she dealt with Nicholas's death in a very objective fashion, taking comfort from the fact that he did not suffer; and apparently not feeling sorry for herself. Whereas, most tears of bereavement are actually shed out of self-pity; it seems, to me, a characteristic of the sisters' aristocratic upbringing, that they did not indulge in self pity; but simply got on with the job: only involving themselves when there was some useful purpose in it. Indeed, I believe that this is still a characteristic which separates the aristocracy from the sobbing-masses. You have only to examine the record of our present Queen, to see that this is plainly the case.
Remember also that while, tragically, the sisters lost their beloved brother in the 1939-45 war, only Jessicca lost her husband. She was very young; and needed much support from friends (who wouldn't?); but she was firing-on-all-cylinders again very quickly; and, like many aristocrats, she lived the remainder of her life absolutely to the full. I would have loved to have met Jessicca, though I fear she would have thought me (in my suburban, warm, ambience) something of a lifeless, wet, rag.
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