The Duchess of Windsor
1977 and 2002
(UK) Hamish Hamilton, (US) Times Books
Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Diana Mitford books, Autobiographies
A life of contrasts
A Life of Contrasts is an international bestseller by Diana Mitford (sister of novelist Nancy Mitford, journalist Jessica Mitford, and memoirist Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire) that was first published by Hamish Hamilton in 1977. She later released a revised edition of the book, published in 2002 by Gibson Square.
In the autobiography, the British aristocrat recounts her colourful past, including her marriage to Sir Oswald Mosley, founder of the British Union of Fascists, her association with Nazi figures and her subsequent three-year internment under Defence Regulation 18B. She also recounts her friendships with leading literary figures Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton, John Betjeman and Lytton Strachey.
In the 2002 edition, Mitford describes several events which occurred following the original 1977 publication. Such as the grief she experienced after her husband's death, her brain tumour as well as her reaction to international events and public figures. She also writes about her "secret" missions to Germany before war broke out, when she helped set up a radio station to raise funds for the BUF.
The book was well received by critics, who were impressed by Mitford's writing talents, although some were not satisfied that she gave a convincing explanation of her controversial political views.
"Fragrant.." The Times
"A Life of Contrasts is a candid, page-turning memoir." Mary S. Lovellq
"a rare treat." Selina Hastings
"engrossing...If you actually want to know about Diana Mosley, read this book." London Evening Standard
The book also includes a selection of black and white photographs.