The enthralling letters by the most idiosyncratic, witty and irrepressible sisters of one of the most notorious families of the 20th century: Decca (Jessica) Mitford.
Over her 78 years, Decca's letters are the most tangible tracks left of a remarkable life - from her childhood as the daughter of a British peer (Lord Redesdale) to her scandalous elopement to the Spanish Civil War with her cousin Esmond Romilly, to her life in the United States, where she married a radical lawyer, Robert Treuhaft in San Francisco.
The Mitford girls (five sisters) included Diana (who married the British fascist leader Oswald Mosley), Unity (who was close to Adolf Hitler) and Debo (who became the Duchess of Devonshire). Decca shocked them all when she joined the American Communist Party.
Her letters are the stories of a century: gossip and politics, war and mores, the wonders of rapid technological change, the poignancy of personal struggles. They are also a record of her never-ending quest for social justice. Her letters were also a rehearsal for her published works (which included her memoir, HONS AND REBELS and her investigative masterpiece, THE AMERICAN WAY OF DEATH), which refined the first observations she threw into her letters.
This is a fascinating collection that reveals to us intimately the most ebullient Mitford of them all.
Peter Y. Sussman has had a long career as a writer and editor. He was an editor for 29 years at the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. His work was followed avidly by Decca herself and he assisted her in researching one of her books, KIND AND USUAL PUNISHMENT. Sussman is the co-author of COMMITTING JOURNALISM (WWNorton, New York)