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

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  330 ratings  ·  36 reviews
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 Lady Mosley's only stipulation was that the book not be published until aft ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 21st 2003 by William Morrow
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Laura Daly
Having previously read Mary S. Lovell's offering on "The Mitford Girls" I was left interested enough to read more about them all. So I started with probably the most famous of them all, Diana. The book takes us from the Mitford childhood to marriage into the Guinness family where she had 2 sons with Bryan Guinness and then to her relationship with Mosley. The book is well written if quite matter of fact. I came about from the book disliking both Oswald Mosley and Diana Mosley even more than I di ...more
Barbara Mader
I found this account interesting and pretty even-handed, but I have trouble with the author's insistence that Diana was "the most intelligent" of the Mitford women. I find that hard to believe, even if one accepts the premise that her loathsome political (and personal) views were more or less completely due to her blind loyalty/"love" for Oswald Mosley (who seems a dreadful hate-mongerer as well as a horrible husband and father). I also cannot find that either Diana or Mosley did one single thin ...more
Marius Gabriel
The story of Diana Mosley's life is the stuff of a rich novel -- and this is how it reads in the very capable hands of Anne de Courcy. This is one of the most entertaining and evocative biographies I have read lately.

Her evident deep affection for her subject makes this a very sympathetic, even partial account. Anne de Courcy treats both Diana and Oswald Mosley with respect and tenderness, perhaps more than they deserve -- and this may be the only weakness of the book, because a little moral jud
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Jessica Leight
This was an interesting biography of a fascinating historical figure and one that I was already somewhat familiar with from other volumes about the strange Mitford family. I thought the writing had a few notable flaws. First, it lingered too much for my taste on the description of houses and furniture. I'm not sure what we were supposed to take away from this material (other than aesthetic appreciation). Second, it turned a rather noncritical eye on the Mosleys' wealth and the accompanying lifes ...more
Becca Stokes
Diana Mitford Nee Mosley.
Yeah, she was like "Fascism, why not?"
But a riveting life. Riveting.
Her sister Unity Mitford (that was her name, hand to God) tried to kill herself when Hitler did, ended up just making herself basically retarded. Can't make this stuff up.
Adrian Tinniswood
An excellent book, immensely readable. All the more intriguing because its subject was so very unpleasant in so many ways. The author is also v perceptive about Diana's husband Oswald, who looms so large in the life and the book.
Well-researched and fair-minded biography which seemed to suddenly "find its feet" when describing Diana in widowhood. The allusion to a high priestess guarding Mosley's legacy seemed not only apt, but particularly insightful. The more one reads about Mosley himself, the more astonishing it becomes that he was so "successful" with women. I find him repugnant (deliberately old-time word): self-absorbed, selfish, untrustworthy and power hungry, and that's leaving out his political views! I think b ...more
Helen Smith
Fascinating book, as always by A de C. Mrs Mosley clearly completely deluded.
I truly enjoyed this book about a woman who is either loved or loathed.I had already read her sisters letters(nancy Mitford) and Debos book Wait for me so to say it was revealing is being polite.What ever Diana was she was always straight as a die and her love for Mosely and the fascist ideals caused her to subsume herself to be loyal to him.Her incarceration was so totally over the top ....she had a 3 month old son at the time and was forced to leave him with others together with her 3 other bo ...more
A biography of a single Mitford sister runs the risk of lacking in context, and indeed, that was a moderate issue with this one. The focus of the book necessarily divorces Diana Mosley's political and personal character from that of her sisters, and I thought that skipped over one of the most appealing aspects of the Mitford story: the wild divergence of the sisters' personalities and politics. On the other hand, the narrowed focus really brings the character of Diana Mosely into sharp relief: n ...more
Anne de Courcy did a hell of a job writing this book. Detailed and very well written, I was most impressed with the fact that she did not try and justify some of Diana (Mitford) Mosley's more ridiculous and short-sighted political ideas and life choices. I have been fascinated with the Mitford's for a long time - especially the stories about their childhood, their strange made-up language and the funny nicknames they gave each other - so I was eager to read this biography to understand more abou ...more
Fascinating! I not only enjoyed the book but I learned a tremendous amount about Fascism in England. The subject of Diana Mosley and her husband made for an intriguing and compelling reading experience. I could not put this book down. Plus, I loved the connections that the author made with other famous and infamous people of the time.

I would highly recommend this book. This book is not limited to a certain genre. I believe all readers would enjoy and take something away from this book. Enjoy!
I've read a lot about the Mitfords, and found this an engaging and well-written and -researched piece, the author obviously having great access to the family and primary source materials. For that, a great read. But having all that access, I'd hoped for a little more insight into what actually made Diana the way she was, and how she stayed so resolutely subordinate to Mosley, despite having a reasonably intelligent mind (though one wonders, How intelligent could she really have been, to accept s ...more
Keegan Chopin
A far more detailed account of Diana Mosley's life and an excellent follow-up to Mary Lovell's biography of the Mitford sisters. I wish the author would write a biography of each Individual Mitford.
Pretty good biography--there were parts I disliked and didn't see the point of it (the ghost mentions at the beginning--kind of odd and off topic).

It was a well rounded book that really did show many aspects of Diana Mosley--she was a legendary beauty, charming, cultured, apparently fun to know, and oh yeah a virulent racist and unrepentant friend of Hitler's. Didn't have really any sympathy for imprisonment and bad things in life whatsoever, because the more you read of her, the more of what a
Holly McIntyre
I found this fascinating, mainly because I was heretofore unaware of the extent of the fascist movement in Britain or of the involvement of parts of the Mitford family in it. Since one of the few U.S. references in the book was incorrect (refers to the University of Columbus, Ohio), I did wonder if all the other "facts" were accurate. Nevertheless, it has given me a new appreciation of the interwar and war years and the desire to know more about it. I never knew that Britain jailed German sympat ...more
fun in a gossip-y "i can't believe she still likes hitler" kind of way. but overall makes you realize why it's still miserable to be poor and lower class in england. none of these people ever seem to have a real job (besides fomenting riots and looking fabulous), yet shuttle back and forth between various mansions (which all have proper names of course), nonchalantly purchased at prices that are about 100x the yearly salary of their help staff. hmm. actually the cost of a piece of furniture = on ...more
An excellent biography of a complex, intelligent, beautiful woman with a very wrong-headed political belief. Diana was a member of the large and politically contradictory Mitford family, a fascinating group who ran the gamut from Fascist to Communist. This is a sympathetic tale, but it doesn't pull any punches about Diana's behavior, or that of her husband, leader of the British Fascist movement during WW II. A great read for anyone interested in this little-known side of British history.
Not a particularly likeable character at all, but important to understand how she came to be so enamoured of fascism and continued to espouse its merits and her love of Hitler until she died. Her story is so interesting though: being part of the Mitford family/sisters, her privileged first marriage and life, followed by social ostracism and life with Oswald Mosley, the war and life after it. She was a strong person who didn't care what people thought of her.
The entire Mitford family is fascinating. This focuses on Diana, who was a confidante of Hitler's before WWII, which led to her internment during the war, without access to her children. This was not a fast read, and the last few chapters encompassed a lot of time without much detail, but overall, provided insight into British society and the Fascist movement within England.
This was an interesting portrait of Diana Mitford, who became the wife of Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British fascist movement. The author admits in the preface that she was appalled by Diana Mosley's political views and her friendship with Hitler, but she clearly strives to present her material objectively.
A fascinating life, ruled by love and the ideology of the beloved. Clearly it is not possible to regret or apologise, as that would negate and deny the love and the life. Her strength of character, and intelligence are clear, and I wonder what she might have achieved in her own right if given the right opportunities.
Mary Alice
Oh what an amazing, intricate woman! Diana's in love with the premier British fascist of the 1930s. He clearly doesn't deserve her love. She clings to his doctrines even when he has half abandoned them. Incredible story, and this author has facts that earlier biographers didn't yet know.
It had it's interesting parts. I found it hard to get through a majority of the time. I felt the only reason I finished it was because I started it and wasn't going to waist all that time for nothing. I would choose other biographies before this one.
Rachael Preston
Interesting family, interesting woman. Well-written biography, insightful, but there is so much more untapped about Diana Mosley. I'd like to hear her story from her own lips, though it's clear she hid so much from herself. Those telling migraines.
It was interesting to learn so much more about Diana's later life and her years imprisoned during the war. The book gives a good insight into her character but does not gloss over the more abhorrent views and opinions she held.
This was a tough one. I found it to be exceedingly well written and quite interesting, but I found the the subject extremely irritating. Weird way to feel afteer reading a book-but that's life.
Cynthia Sillitoe
I'm reading it with the intention of learning stuff about Mosley and British fascists, but it's the Mitford stuff that keeps me interested. It is written very well and easy to follow.
I'd never heard of the Mitfords til I picked up The Sisters several years ago, but now they seem to pop up all the time in books (both fiction and non-fiction.)

Interesting stuff.
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Anne de Courcy is a well-known writer, journalist and book reviewer. In the 1970s she was Woman’s Editor on the London Evening News until its demise in 1980, when she joined the Evening Standard as a columnist and feature-writer. In 1982 she joined the Daily Mail as a feature writer, with a special interest in historical subjects, leaving in 2003 to concentrate on books, on which she has talked wi ...more
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