Over her 78 years, Decca's letters are the most tangible tracks left of a remarkable life - from her childhood as the daughter of a British peer (Lord Redesdale) to her scandalous elopement to the Spanish Civil War with her cousin Esmond Romilly, to her life in the United States, where she married a radical lawyer, Robert Treuhaft in San Francisco ...Read MoreOver her 78 years, Decca's letters are the most tangible tracks left of a remarkable life - from her childhood as the daughter of a British peer (Lord Redesdale) to her scandalous elopement to the Spanish Civil War with her cousin Esmond Romilly, to her life in the United States, where she married a radical lawyer, Robert Treuhaft in San Francisco. The Mitford girls (five sisters) included Diana (who married the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley), Unity (who was close to Adolf Hitler) and Debo (who became the Duchess of Devonshire). Decca shocked them all when she joined the American Communist Party. Her letters are the stories of a century: gossip and politics, war and mores, the wonders of rapid technological change, the poignancy of personal struggles. They are also a record of her never-ending quest for social justice. Her letters were also a rehearsal for her published works (which included her memoir, HONS AND REBELS and her investigative masterpiece, THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH), which refined the first observations she threw into her letters. This is a fascinating collection that reveals to us intimately the most ebullient Mitford of them all.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2006-07-31 Best known for her classic funeral-industry expos?, The American Way of Death, Jessica Mitford (1917- 1996) was fifth of the famous Mitford sisters, but rebelled against her privileged English roots to become a member of the American Communist Party and union organizer, a civil rights activist and a celebrated investigative journalist. Sussman, a former longtime editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, has gathered an array of letters that capture Mitford's legendary wit, warmth and self-deprecating humor: decades of exuberant and sometimes sparring correspondence with friends, including civil rights activists Virginia and Clifford Durr, publisher Katharine Graham, journalist Shana Alexander, writers Kay Boyle and Maya Angelou. Mitford's prickly relations with her aristocratic clan are much in evidence, as is her estrangement from its fascist members; writing to Winston Churchill in 1943, she unswervingly protests the release from prison of her sister Diana Mosley and Diana's husband, the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley. Relating her bold emigration to the United States with her cousin and first husband, Communist journalist Esmond Romilly; her resilience as a war widow in a foreign country with an infant daughter; and the evident happiness of her 50-year marriage to her second husband, radical labor attorney Robert Treuhaft, Mitford's letters crackle with wit and mordant observations. 59 illus. (Oct. 21) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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