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  • John Murray

Diaries, 1971-1983

James Lees-Milne, Michael Bloch

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Biography: general, Diaries, letters & journals, Prose: non-fiction

The second of the trilogy of abridged volumes from the diaries praised as 'one of the treasures of English literature'

Funny, indiscreet, candid, touching and sharply observed, this second compilation from James Lees-Milne's celebrated diaries covers his life during his sixties and early seventies, when he was living in Gloucestershire with his formidable wife Alvilde.

It vividly portrays life on the Badminton estate of the eccentric Duke of Beaufort, meetings with many friends (including John Betjeman, Bruce Chatwin and the Mitford sisters) and the diarist's varied emotional experiences.

Having made his name as the National Trust's country houses expert and a writer on architecture, he now established himself as a novelist and biographer. With some misgivings he published his wartime diaries, little imagining that it was as a diarist that he would achieve lasting fame.

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Praise for Diaries, 1971-1983

  • Acute observation is coupled with entertaining literary style and ever-present humour . . . Michael Bloch has edited these diaries formidably well - Bevis Hillier

  • Woefully funny, elegantly observed, appallingly indiscreet, these diaries are the best record we have of a world still recognizable but fast vanishing beneath the waves of history - Peter Parker

  • His pages abound in delightful shafts of self-revelation . . . a singularly funny, modest, sweet, lovable gentleman whose controversial prose is yet infused with a poetic vision of the essence of Old England - Hugh Massingberd

  • Raw emotions, fearlessly expressed, spice every page - Duff Hart-Davis

  • Always honest, always curious, always lovable - Lynn Barber

  • What matters the clash of titans, when a clear and fastidious intellect shares its preoccupation with the minutiae of a civilised gentleman's day? - Alan Clark

  • The qualities which make his diaries addictive reading include a sense of the ridiculous, and a total frankness about whatever shows him at a disadvantage. He is wonderfully observant, and his sheer humanity shines out on every page - The Field

  • Unquestionably one of the greatest English diarists, a rival to Pepys - David Watkin

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