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A Fine Old Conflict

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  188 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
'A Fine Old Conflict' is the sequel to 'Hons and Rebels' the first part of Jessica Mitford's extraordinary life story. It tells of her experiences in the Communist Party which she joined in California during World War II and left in 1958, illustrating, with biting humour, a neglected chapter of American radical history. She and her husband, lawyer Bob Treuhaft, campaigned ...more
Hardcover, 333 pages
Published September 1st 1977 by Alfred A. Knopf
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A Fine Old Conflict is the second of Mitford's lively and witty autobiographies; Daughters and Rebels covered her childhood as the fifth of the Mitford sisters and her elopement with and marriage to Esmond Romilly, and A Fine Old Conflict picks up the story just before Romilly's death in action in World War II.

In an astonishing contrast to her fascist and Nazi-sympathizing sisters, Diana and Unity, Jessica was a committed Communist (causing a lasting rift in the family), and this book is largel
Aug 13, 2009 NHU rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fine old read.
Feb 06, 2012 Lauren rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios-memoirs
At times I found myself getting annoyed with Jessica Mitford to downright angry while reading her second memoir. A Fine Old Conflict is about her life in the America communist party, her problems with the CIA as a result and her later career as a muckraker.
The highlight of the book was her romance with her husband Treuhoff.
She shared her sister Deborah's tendency to name-drop the various famous people she knew in her life but at least she didn't thank the people who picked out tea cosies.

Her op
Jun 19, 2009 Wayne rated it it was amazing
Jessica Mitford got it wrong right from the beginning!!!

As a teenager walking with Nanny or governess in Hyde Park, London, she would wander off to listen to the Communist orators and join in the singing of the stirring anthem 'The Internationale'.

'Tis the final conflict,
Let each stand in his place,
The Internationale
Shall be the human race...

However, Jessica always sang:"It's a fine old conflict..." and that is what she has titled her book, a biographical history of the American Communist Pa
I read this biography immediately after finishing "Hons and Rebels" which to me, read like a love letter to her late husband. "A fine old conflict" was a lot harder to get involved with. Not having many sympathies with the concept of communism I found this book tough going and found myself truly entranced when she related more personal "adventures" such as meeting and marrying Bob and her journey back to England. For me that was when Jessica Mitford truly shone. I am very ashamed to admit that f ...more
Mitford's wit is my favorite aspect of this memoir. It is fascinating to read about the Communist Party in the United States in the 1940s, 50s and 60s from the perspective of someone who was an unashamed, unapologetic member. So often, we writers look back on their political lives, they adjust their behavior to accommodate currently popular viewpoints, but Mitford makes it clear that she believed in what did.
Nearly all of the book is composed of her activities in the Communist Party and the hys
Sep 03, 2008 Dave rated it liked it
Jessica (Decca) is probably the most likeable of the Mitford clan--at least of the famous ones: she's not a fascist, a Nazi, or a very arch, cruelly brilliant novelist. Instead, she was a very committed Communist, which she makes seem like a lot of fun to be. It's not that she doesn't take the Party and its purposes (particularly civil rights) seriously--it's that she doesn't see why that precludes funny anecdotes or self-mocking humor. This book is not as much fun as "Hons and Rebels," simply b ...more
Feb 18, 2009 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oft humorous memoir of the author and her husband's involvement with the Communist party in the US during and just after WWII and the resulting estrangement from her titled family in England. Peopled with other leftist bigwigs and leaders in the labor movement.
Jul 04, 2007 Jessica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining classic Mitford; even more hilarious that she's talking about her experience in the Communist Party!
Jan 02, 2017 Micah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Like hanging out at a party with with a charming older radical who tells questionable but hilarious stories about the revolution, the lack of revolution and the revolting FBI. Andromeda Black was a great lady and I'm glad JK Rowling found her.
Aug 10, 2015 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Jessica Mitford was the lefty among the famous Mitford sisters. Born into the British aristocracy in the first decades of the 20th century, schooled at home, and destined for marriage to aristocrats, they were having none of it—except, ironically, Jessica, who did elope with her equally aristocratic cousin—to the Spanish Civil War.

A Fine Old Conflict is the chronicle of her years as a member of the American Communist Party. It picks up where her memoir of her youth and marriage, Hons and
Jan 17, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, politics
I've read this before, but it must have been before I got a Goodreads. It's interesting to read it in the light of current political assaults on the less convenient parts of the US Constitution - depressingly, that part is no less relevant in 2012 than in the early 2000s. Parts are laugh-out-loud funny, and the bits about how she came to write Hons and Rebels are fascinating, but it's not essential reading in the same way as Hons and Rebels. But Decca's verve is as infectious as always, and her ...more
Richard Thomas
A fascinating book telling the story of a very aristocratic English woman's life in the Communist party in California and her view of the involvement of the state (FBI and House Committee on Unamerican Activities) against her as a threat to society and the overthrow of the American way of life. For someone who had no formal education she writes well - indeed pretty well everything she wrote is a page turner. Worth reading both as an account of her life and of subversion in the 1950s and the quit ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Annez rated it liked it
Interesting for those who like reading about subcultures. The author is not particularly objective but she does have a lot of insights on what it was like to be in the Communist Party during the 1940s and '50s in America, as well as the early civil rights movement. Some of her family was unhappy with Jessica's characterizations in her memoirs but I still find her one of the more accessible Mitfords.
NOT by Nancy Mitford: By her sister, Jessica Mitford and in an entirely different style than Nancy's writings. I found this the least enjoyable of all the Mitford books I've read and I do believe I've read them all, up to Debo Mitford Devonshire's "Wait for Me", published in 2010 on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday.
russell barnes
If you're interested in just how toothless, stereotypical and dull life in the American Communist Party was in the post-war years, this is perfect but my fine legacy-co-colleague Miss Louise Pepper has hit the nail firmly on the head with this; More Decca, less Communisim.
About halfway through - want more Decca and less about Communism but should've expected the latter really... Am also being v careful not to drop in the bath so it can be returned to Russ in good nick.
Barbara Mader
May 27, 2008 Barbara Mader rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mitfords
A good read; learned a lot about the CRC and some of the civil rights issues they addressed. And I continue Mitfording along . . . .
Steph (loves water)
Dec 17, 2012 Steph (loves water) rated it it was amazing
This intelligent woman never ceases to amaze me, I loved this book. A rare wit and humor, I enjoyed this book immensely.
I was a fan of Jessica Mitford's "The American Way of Death" many years ago, so wanted to read something else by her. But Jessica was simply not as good a writer as her sister, Nancy Mitford.
Jan 10, 2011 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On my shelves for years, I've finally decided to read Mitford's account of her involvement with the Communist Party USA.
Sarah rated it really liked it
Aug 23, 2016
Sophia Roberts
Mar 16, 2012 Sophia Roberts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-writing
I enjoyed every minute of this book. What an education.
Gabrielle rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2008
Abby rated it really liked it
Nov 01, 2011
Amy Herren
Amy Herren rated it it was amazing
Nov 30, 2011
Chris Maher
Chris Maher rated it it was amazing
Jan 24, 2013
Pamela Radell
Pamela Radell rated it it was amazing
Nov 07, 2014
Brigitta Edith
Brigitta Edith rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2012
Margaret Jones
Margaret Jones rated it really liked it
May 07, 2015
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Jessica Lucy Freeman-Mitford was an English author, journalist and political campaigner, who was one of the Mitford sisters. She gained American citizenship in later life.
More about Jessica Mitford...

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