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Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel
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Group Reads Archive > October 2016 Diana Mosley by Anne de Courcy

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message 1: by Jennifer W (new)

Jennifer W | 1002 comments Mod
Welcome to October's group read of Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel by Anne de Courcy.

Please add your thoughts and comments!

Enjoy!


message 2: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val The book starts with some family history (house moves and inheritances, etc.) and some family trivia, such as Nancy developing her comic skills by teasing her siblings resulting in tears or laughter. (The girls called these 'floods' and 'shrieks', which is apparently so fascinating that the author repeats it a few times.)
The children have soon grown up however and Diana is attracting boys. We get a bit about upper-class social life of the time and 'coming out' rituals. I am hoping several members will find this interesting, although perhaps the male ones are less likely to.


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I'm really enjoying this. I'm up to about 1937 I think. It's been really interesting. The family background I pretty well knew from reading The Sisters, but all the political stuff (though not really my interest) was really interesting. Reading how the BUF evolved and how Diana evolved because of her involvement with Mosley.

I'm really enjoying de Courcy's writing too, which makes me feel better for already having picked up another of her books.


message 4: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val I'm not quite up to that point yet.
Diana's social life before and after her marriage was fairly typical for her class and generation, and the author covered it in sufficient detail to give the flavour without going into too many name-dropping details about exactly who was at every dinner party, picnic, theatre trip, etc.
What I have read so far of the politics is also handled well: clearly and with sufficient detail.
I wasn't amused by the selection of just one quote from Evelyn Waugh's extensive and often very funny diaries, but then I've got my own farting dog and I don't find him that funny either.


message 5: by Donald (new)

Donald Whiteway | 24 comments The Mitford sisters still fascinate us so long after their lifetimes. There is a new biography of all the sisters combined. My wife is reading it now; I have dibs next!


Julie Received my copy today! I enjoy Anne de Courcys writing so can't wait to get started.


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments I have the book, and hope to start it next week.


message 8: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments I'm trying to remember if I ordered it from anywhere.


message 9: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments Diana Mosley came today. So I hope to get started on it shortly.


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments Diana was attracted to strong, charismatic men. She seemed so obsessed with her love for Mosley that she overlooked his faults during his life and after his death. Mosley was a womanizer, a poor parent, domineering, and self-centered. But Diana was constantly smoothing things over between them and parroting his political views. I've heard it said that some women are attracted to men that resemble their father, and David Mitford also seems to be a domineering man.

This is the first time I've read about the Mitfords, and I was wondering where Diana's anti-Semitic views came from. Did she get her ideas from Mosley, Hitler, or earlier in her life?


message 11: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments It is a short walk from autocracy to fascism for Diana and Unity. Or communism, as in the case of Jessica. I was having trouble remembering what Jessica and googled her - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessi... - and it noted that the father was basically a natural fascist. I am at the beginning of the book and never got around to reading The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family, although it is still on my shelf.


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments Jan C wrote: "It is a short walk from autocracy to fascism for Diana and Unity. Or communism, as in the case of Jessica. I was having trouble remembering what Jessica and googled her - https://en.m.wikipedia.org..."

Interesting, Jan.


message 13: by Miss M (new) - added it

Miss M | 118 comments Slightly OT...Jessica's son is a Goodreads member...

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1...


message 14: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val Didn't I read somewhere that her mother wouldn't have Jews in the house and would leave a restaurant if she realised there was one present?


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments This is my review of the book:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I enjoyed your review, Connie. :) Thanks!

Val, I don't remember that offhand but it wouldn't surprise me, knowing how much Sydney liked Hitler, through Unity and Diana.

Diana definitely seemed to like powerful men, didn't she? (Once we take Bryan out of the equation, as he seems to have been just a way to get out of her family, really.) David was very overbearing, so I could see that coming in as a factor. I'm currently just post-war and Diana and Mosley have their own farm and whatnot, and de Courcy is talking about how everything had to be just so for Mosley and so Diana couldn't do some of the things she would've liked... And it just seems so exhausting and annoying. I'm annoyed on her behalf just reading about it, I can't imagine actually living it. Though she seems to enjoy it somewhat anyhow.

Wasn't there some mention of how a lot of the aristocratic families were at least vaguely anti-semitic? That that's just how they were brought up? I don't remember exactly, but if that's so, it doesn't really seem a stretch to getting behind Hitler and, less so, the BUF. (This would explain Sydney's interest in Hitler too, I think.) Add in Diana's liking of strong men and you can see how it all happened. :/

It came up I was reading this the last time I visited my parents, and now my mom wants to borrow all of Nancy's books and the ones of Jessica's I have. I think I'll lend her The Sisters too. :)


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments This popped up on my facebook feed yesterday and I thought of Diana's comments about how she didn't think of Hitler as the person that murdered millions of people, but as the man she knew. I feel like these photos show a little bit of what she probably meant...

http://www.vintag.es/2016/10/these-pi...


Julie I'm about a third of the way in and starting to enjoy it. However, the book is throwing up questions that I can't seem to answer! It fascinates me how people really came to believe in everything that Hitler stood for in the interwar years and could not see the beginnings of the monster that he eventually became. Was Mosley more charismatic than Hitler? Did the Mitford girls see fascism as a daring alternative and a way to hit back at their restrictive upbringing? I'm also trying to make up my mind whether I actually like any of the Mitford girls, although I did feel a bit sorry for Bryan!


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments Bronwyn wrote: "This popped up on my facebook feed yesterday and I thought of Diana's comments about how she didn't think of Hitler as the person that murdered millions of people, but as the man she knew. I feel l..."

Wonderful photos, Bronwyn. It seemed like Hitler could be very charming to women and children that he liked.

It reminded me a little of how slave owners could be loving to their families and friends, but treat their slaves like they weren't really human.


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments Julie wrote: "I'm about a third of the way in and starting to enjoy it. However, the book is throwing up questions that I can't seem to answer! It fascinates me how people really came to believe in everything th..."

I'm guessing that Hitler was more charismatic than Mosley when it came to stirring a crowd. Mosley appealed to uneducated, rough men, but Hitler appealed to some very educated, sophisticated people too. Germany had a lot of unemployment and had been defeated in WWI. Hitler employed people making armaments, and gave people a feeling of unity and pride in their country. So they didn't bother listening to the rest of his message. People love to blame their problems on a scapegoat, and Hitler blamed the Jews. A small minority just does not have the numbers to fight back.

Outside of their political views, the Mitford girls and their friends all seemed to be cheating with each others' spouses. With superficial friends like that, who needs enemies? I agree with you that Bryan Guinness was a nice guy.


message 21: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments Jan C wrote: "I'm trying to remember if I ordered it from anywhere."

I couldn't remember if I had already ordered this book so I got it from Barnes & Noble or Amazon. Whooops! The book that I had previously ordered came today. So now I have two copies. Just hoping I didn't pay full price twice.

Oh, well, guess I'll throw it in the bag for the library.


Connie G (connie_g) | 162 comments I hope you enjoy it after going through so much to get a copy of the book, Jan.


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments I just finished this on my lunch.

For most of the book I found Diana fairly sympathetic if a little blind to reality. The last chapter though really showed how delusional she really was about Mosley and Hitler. It did a good job of showing why she might have kept this up though, in that if she said Mosley was wrong that would have meant she went to prison and isolated herself from family, etc. for nothing.


message 24: by Bronwyn (last edited Oct 24, 2016 10:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments Oh, I have to comment that I did find small errors here and there that bothered me. Luckily the rest of the things I knew were correct or I'd be more worried about the rest of the content.

Der Sturmer is called Die Sturmer a few times. And Alexander went to Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio; there isn't a Columbus University in Ohio.


message 25: by Jan C (new) - added it

Jan C (woeisme) | 1526 comments But there is a Columbus University in Columbus, Georgia. Not on the same level though.


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments Jan C wrote: "But there is a Columbus University in Columbus, Georgia. Not on the same level though."

Haha, yes! I found that when I was trying to figure out if OSU was ever called Columbus University, or if there ever was one here. :)


message 27: by Lynaia (new)

Lynaia | 153 comments Bronwyn wrote: "Oh, I have to comment that I did find small errors here and there that bothered me. Luckily the rest of the things I knew were correct or I'd be more worried about the rest of the content.

Der Stu..."


Just a guess but I think the change from Der Sturmer to Die Sturmer might have something to do with German grammer rules. Der and die both mean the. Which one you use depends on both the gender of the noun and the case of the noun in the sentence. However, since this is a proper name of a newspaper, I don't think it is supposed to be changed. This is probably where the mistake came from though. Just FYI.


Bronwyn (nzfriend) | 651 comments Yeah, I know a little enough German to know that, but like you said, since it's the proper name of the paper, I wouldn't think it'd be changed. When you google Die Sturmer it does pull it up but...


message 29: by Val (new) - rated it 3 stars

Val That makes sense Lynaia. The author made a mistake by trying to be correct without understanding the context.


Ellen Marcolongo This book, I believe, shows us how complicated human beings can be. Diana was wonderfully complex but also very stubborn. She refused to change even in the face of overwhelming evidence. I think we can all learn from this!


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