Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel

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9780060565329: Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel

Diana Mosley is the riveting tell-all biography of one of the most intriguing, enigmatic and controversial women of the twentieth century, written with her exclusive cooperation and based upon hundreds of hours of taped interviews and unprecedented access to her private papers, letters and diaries. Lady Mosley's only stipulation was that the book not be published until after her death.

Society darling Diana Mosley, born June 10, 1910, was by general consent the most beautiful and the cleverest of the six Mitford sisters. She was eighteen when she married Bryan Guinness, of the brewing dynasty, with whom she had two sons. After four years, she left him for the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley, an admirer of Mussolini and a notorious womanizer. It was a course of action that horrified her family and scandalized society.

In 1933 Diana took her sister Unity to Germany, where both met the new German leader, Adolf Hitler. Diana became so close to him that when she and Mosley married in 1936, the ceremony took place in the Goebbels' drawing room with Hitler as the guest of honor. She would continue to visit Hitler until a month before the outbreak of World War II, and afterwards she refused to believe in the horrors of the Holocaust. During the war the Mosleys' association with Hitler led them to be arrested and detained for three and a half years. After, they rebuilt their lives in exile, entertaining and being entertained by pre-war friends and new associates, including the Windsors. Attempts by Oswald Mosley to enter mainstream politics failed abjectly; for him at least, the message of the real world finally got through. His death devastated Diana, after their almost fifty years together. Her loyalty to him remained unquestioning, his political beliefs as sacred in death as in life.

Anne de Courcy's gripping biography reveals the mesmerizing life of a woman whose fateful choices shocked her family, friends and fellow countrymen while she remained unbowed. This is a unique window on a world and a life that are no more but are still gripping fifty years later.

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About the Author:

Anne de Courcy has written eleven books, including Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel; Debs at War; and The Viceroy's Daughters. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.

From Publishers Weekly:

De Courcy last wrote (in The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters) about Cimmie Curzon, who married the British Fascist Oswald Mosley. Here, de Courcy examines the life of Mosley's second wife, Diana Mitford, who died this summer. Born into an aristocratic but eccentric family, Mitford was blessed with a mythical beauty and charm that inspired a frenzy among potential suitors Evelyn Waugh and Randolph Churchill. She was married young to the heir of the Guinness ale fortune and hobnobbed with the social and cultural elite of the 1920s. Diana had two children with Guinness before meeting Mosley, then a Labour Party leader and known womanizer still married to Curzon. Mosley was in the process of establishing the British Union of Fascism, and Diana, fervently in love, left her husband to support him and his cause. Later, Diana and her sister Unity became fascinated with the Nazi party in Germany and developed close ties with Hitler. When Curzon died, Diana married Mosley, standing by him through imprisonment and the aftermath of WWII. De Courcy's sympathetic but critical account, based on extensive and exclusive access to Mosley herself and her papers, suggests that Diana was unaware of the extent of the brutality of the Nazi regimes-and that, despite her own anti-Semitism, her politics were the sum of her blind romantic and sexual desires. This is a thorough, nuanced reading of a complicated woman, but even more ambitiously, de Courcy has painted her as an icon of between-the-wars Europe, with its crumbling social structure and decadent, violent attempts at self-preservation.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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