Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters” as Want to Read:
The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  1,712 ratings  ·  169 reviews
The great wits and beauties of their age, the Mitford sisters were immoderate in their passions for ideas and people, counting among their diverse friends Adolf Hitler and Queen Elizabeth II, Cecil Beaton and President Kennedy, Evelyn Waugh and Givenchy. As editor Charlotte Mosley notes, not since the Brontës have the members of a single family written so much about themse...more
Hardcover, 842 pages
Published 2007
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Mitfords, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Mitfords

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Nette
I'm obsessed by the Mitfords, so I devoured this. How can you not be fascinated by a family where the six sisters were a Communist, a Fascist, a Nazi, a duchess, a novelist, and a farmer? All of them were hilariously funny -- OK, not so much Unity, the Nazi -- and brilliant. The only problem is that for a while after readomg ot. you'll find yourself talking like an upper crust 1920s eccentric. Oh darling, DO admit.
Ali
really don't know where to begin in reviewing this stupendous work. I am fascinated by the Mitfords - and I have read several books about them or by them. These wonderful letters between the six sisters are a chronicle of a century - Nancy born 1904 and Diana died 2003. The letters chart the changing relationships between the sisters. The vast differences between them, and the things which united them. It is through their eyes and in their own peculiar Mitfordian language that we expierence: Di...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If you want to appreciate this collection from cover to cover, you have to know a lot more about the Mitford girls than I would ever care to know. I shall be plucking juicy tidbits until I've had my fill.

(I'm still reading this, but moving it to my "finish someday" shelf. I own it, so it's going to take me months and months to get through it.)
Patricia
I got this book because it sounded interesting. Not interesting like, "I want to read that," but interesting like "I should read that." When I got it, I groaned. It was huge, 834 pages, and I figured I would start it and wander off about a quarter of the way through.

Boy howdy was I wrong. It was an incredibly engrossing book and I loved every minute of it. The six Mitford sisters, born between 1904 and 1920 started writing to each other in their 20's and continued throughout their lives. Four of...more
PastAllReason
Fascinating collection of letters exchanged between the six Mitford sisters over the course of their lives. The correspondence spans decades for sisters who led quite extraordinary lives.

The correspondence includes exchanges from Nancy Mitford, the eldest, who became a best-selling author, from Unity who became a Nazi who met Hitler several times in the 1930s and plainly hero-worshipped him in her correspondence, from Diana who first married the heir to the Guinness fortune and divorced him to...more
Amy
I've read nearly all of the extant biographies and autobiographies of the six Mitford sisters, all of their fiction and nonfiction, and countless articles by and about them. I've been fascinated by their dazzling, batty world for several decades, ever since a college English professor had us read Jessica Mitford's "Way of Death," followed by Nancy's "U and Non-U" essay. That got me far enough down the delightful rabbit hole that is their writing and their lives, and I've not been back since.

That...more
Caroline
Nov 19, 2012 Caroline marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I love the novels of Nancy Mitford, so when someone recommended this book to me I immediately got it from Amazon. It arrived a few days ago. Sadly it is going to leave my house practically unread. I found that the rabid adoration of Hilter and Nazism of some of the Mitford sisters really stuck in my gullet, rendering the book hugely distasteful. Up until now it had just been an issue in the background, dampened by the glory of Nancy's wonderful novels. But these letters show with undoubted clari...more
Bibliophile
Cured of any budding fascination I might have had for the Mitfords. Feeling exhausted and longing for my sane, sensible sister who has never uttered words like "Oh isn't the Fuhrer just the kindest man ever!" Also, she has never tried to have me imprisoned. All good things. Must get her something nice for Christmas.
Lesley
Absolute blissikins, do admit
Kimberly
This was a fascinating book due to 1)the people the Mitfords knew: Queen Elizabeth, Hitler, Kennedys, Maya Angelou, Churchill, etc 2)the sheer length and volume of correspondence--thousands of letters spanning 60+ years (between four published authors!) and 3)seeing women and their complex relationships grow and change over a lifetime. Having said that, the Mitfords themselves I don't care for much, with the exception of kind Deborah, Lady of Devonshire. Nancy is while smart and funny--sad, bitt...more
Leah

I loved this book.

I know I have previously been guilty of romanticising the Mitford sisters (like an interviewer says to Diana, "It must have been really something when you were all together..."). In my mind they exist mainly in the 1930s, becoming beautiful young debutantes and making friends with the interesting and important people of the era. This is ridiculous, of course.

There is no better way to be cured of Midnight-in-Paris syndrome than by reading these fantastic letters. Learning the s...more
Victoria
A fascinating look at the 20th century through the eyes of a single family in their personal correspondence. These woman were at the heart of a wide spectrum of political and social life in Europe. They weaved their way through the century, creating a link between Hitler, the British monarchy and Stalin.

It is also a fascinating look at the dynamics of sisters. Having a sister of my own, I recognise the rivalry, jealousy, the fight to be the one approved of and beloved of your parents, and the b...more
Karen Powell
A must for anyone fascinated with the Mitfords, or with 20th century history. The letters between Nancy, Pam, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah span thoughout their lifetimes, their connections to history's elite providing an inner look to newsmakers of the past, like WInston Churchill and JFK.[return][return]The sisters have a unique sense of humor due to their unconventional upbringing as struggling aristocrats. Their letters are peppered liberally with nicknames, inside jokes, and jibes at t...more
The Library Lady
Reading these letters has really underlined to me how crucial Fanny Logan Wyncham, narrator of The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate is to those books--she is the most human character and contrasts vividly to the Radlett family, who were based on the Mitfords.

Charlotte Mosley has apparently done quite well making a living off the papers of her Mitford in-laws, but she hasn't helped their public images the way Nancy Mitford did with the novels. Perhaps if she had put explanatory paragr...more
Eileen
This one took awhile not really because of length but because it was too big to really carry around. Now I am finished! HUZZAH etc.

Primary sources are generally very interesting as long as you are interested in the subject matter and time period. I was interested in both, and so liked it very much.

When I started reading, the balance of the book seemed odd and off-kilter. Much of the Mitfords' fame/notoriety came right around the WWII era, so why was there such a large proportion of letters left...more
Margaret
I'd been waiting for this for what seems like forever and then had to keep myself from devouring it once I got it. It's a fat hardback and generally blissful, and fascinating to see how each sister interacted with each other sister, the various closenesses and rivalries and alliances and infighting.

Of course I've read many of Nancy's and Decca's letters, but I really loved reading Deborah's (the youngest sister and eventual keeper of the family archives). I find I still do not get on with Diana,...more
Eilidhbelle
I loved this so much, I wish I could erase it from my mind and read it all over again. They knew EVERYONE and they wrote so brilliantly to each other - an honest gem of a book, really can't fault it at all.
Nicole
I really enjoyed reading their letters. They all have such strong voices and they all really made me laugh. The tragic parts are even more tragic with the resilience the women had. I loved all of their commentaries on getting old. Rather profound but equally amusing, as with every other topic. The notes added by the author are very helpful considering they're all using their own Mitford language! The nicknames and so on.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that it was so long, but I don't...more
Bonnie
Oct 10, 2014 Bonnie marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up-on
Sorry but this just wasn't what I was expecting. I think I need a lot more background on this family to enjoy it. By page 67 I decided I wasn't interested in a family where at least one sister is a devotee of hitler and comments, poor Fuhrer this and poor Fuhrer that.
blindmouse
This is a 77-year correspondence, which naturally becomes both a portrait of the personalities of and relationships between the six Mitford sisters, and a fascinating view on the times they lived through, and threw themselves into. It's huge, and thought-provoking, and delightful, and sometimes greyly disheartening and sometimes desperately sad and sometimes just so charming you could live in it.

The key points of the Mitford story are that they were peers' daughters who came of age in the twenti...more
Kasadarko
my favourite part was how they wrote. they way they strung sentences together, we just don't see that anymore. cute that the last few letters were sent by fax. each one of them lead extraordinary lives. a book worth reading during the summer months or in the dead of winter. trust me you'll start writing letters after you finish this glorious book.
Kathie
Fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Mitford sisters, who provoked, outraged, and at the very least made for interesting press over many decades of the twentieth century. Two sisters became Nazi sympathizers and actually knew Hitler ("Adolph was so sweet at lunch today..."). One eloped with a Churchill cousin and became a Communist and later a muckraking author. One became a successful novelist, one devoted her life to livestock and her farm. The youngest married into British aristocracy, b...more
Ruby
Oh, I adored it. Made me ache for England, sisters and letters. (I must say that the English inside my head is full of "do admit's" and "do tell's" now, though, quite silly)
Cathy
This is an amazing book, the like of which we probably won't see again! The six Mitford sisters wrote letters to each other throughout their quite astonishing lives and their correspondence covers major events of the 20th Century, name-dropping an altogether astonishing set of celebrities, politicians and royals.

I'd read some of Nancy Mitford's books and knew some of the history of the family, but the letters bring so much insight into their world.

My only regret about this book is that I read i...more
Tigger
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Modernisti
Hmmm..Denis Thatcher smoking in the Ladies' (spouses?) reception room, or some other place where the peers' or peeresses spouses mingle...
There is fire in this collection of letters...
----
13th May
the end is nigh, I'm on page 668, and only last week one Mosley died young (Diana's grandson Alexander). As I have read, on a Cyprus holiday, parallel to this book another family saga, Anna Freud's life, the question remains: how you survive in circumstances that are both luxurious/upper class/intellect...more
DonaAna
This is a very fascinating book - a compilation of letters with mini biographies interspersed. 4 stars instead of 5 because of the following
- The book is slow at getting started. Only after about 150 pages or so I started to be able to tell the siblings apart from each other. Soon, however, they become quite distinct. In the end, you know who is writing from just their choice of words and topics.
- A period when a lot happens (young adulthood, marriages, running away, formation of political ideas...more
Claire
This massive door-stop of a book is one of the most fascinating volumes of collected letters I have ever read. The six Mitford sisters - Nancy, Diana, Pamela, Deborah, Jessica and Unity - came from an aristicratic, pivileged and very close-knit family, and were all inveterate letter-writers. Despite the wide-ranging age differences between the sisters, and despite the usual sibling arguments (which got very heated at times - in particular between Jessica and Diana, who fell out over their diamet...more
Danielle
These letters between the Mitford sisters served mostly to show me that any life - however fascinating - can always be improved with the help of a good editor.

I love reading about the Mitford sisters - they all had fascinating lives gadding around the Western world doing fabulous things. However, what this book also showed me is that they also maintained an active home life and also spent time doing the same ordinary things that all other women also did at the time - raising children, gardening...more
Harry Rutherford
The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters, edited by Charlotte Mosley, is a selection of letters between the various Mitford sisters, who were an extraordinary bunch. From oldest to youngest, Nancy was the novelist who wrote Love In A Cold Climate and The Pursuit of Love; Pamela was least remarkable; Diana married Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union of Fascists; Unity went off to Germany and became a personal friend of Hitler; Jessica ran away from home to join a cousin fighting on the co...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Letters and Diaries: The Mitford Letters 1 1 Feb 18, 2013 06:54AM  
  • Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford
  • Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel
  • Wait for Me!
  • The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family
  • Madame de Pompadour
  • Mad World: Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead
  • Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940
  • The Bolter: Edwardian Heartbreak and High Society Scandal in Kenya
  • The Brontës: A Life in Letters
  • Five Sisters: The Langhornes of Virginia
  • Aristocrats: Caroline, Emily, Louisa, and Sarah Lennox, 1740-1832
  • Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story
65329
Charlotte Mosley, Diana Mitford's daughter-in-law, has worked as a publisher and journalist. She has published A Talent to Annoy: Essays, Articles, and Reviews by Nancy Mitford; Love from Nancy: The Letters of Nancy Mitford; and The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh. She lives in Paris.
More about Charlotte Mosley...
The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh A Talent To Annoy In Tearing Haste: Letters Between Deborah Devonshire and Patrick Leigh Fermor Love from Nancy Wait for Me!

Share This Book

“(from Diana to Deborah, 8 May 1998)
Talking of language difficulty Tony Lambton says Selwyn Lloyd introduced him to Khrushchev saying 'He's the best shot in England,' and the translator said 'Lord Lambton is to be shot tomorrow.' Khrushchev thought it quite normal but patted him on the shoulder kindly.”
2 likes
More quotes…