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The Duff Cooper Diaries: 1915-1951

John Julius Norwich

7 Reviews

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Biography: general, Autobiography: general, Autobiography: historical, political & military, Diaries, letters & journals, Prose: non-fiction

The long awaited and highly revealing diaries of the politician, diplomat, and socialite (married to Lady Diana Cooper)

Duff Cooper was a first-rate witness of just about every significant event from 1914 to 1950. His diary includes some magnificent set pieces - as a young soldier at the end of WWI, as a politician during the General Strike of 1926, as King Edward VIII's friend at the time of the Abdication, and from Paris after the liberation in 1944, when he became British ambassador.

If Duff Cooper's name has dimmed in the 50 years since his death, publication of these diaries will bring him to the fore once again. His family have long resisted publication - indeed Duff Cooper's nephew, the publisher Rupert Hart-Davis, was so shocked by the sexual revelations that he suggested to John Julius Norwich that it might be best for all concerned if they were burnt. Now, superbly edited by John Julius Norwich, whose familial link ensures all kinds of additional information as footnotes, these diaries join the ranks of the great diarists.

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Praise for The Duff Cooper Diaries: 1915-1951

  • fascinating for two things: their testament to an exhilarating century and their witness to a vanished age of power and privilege... What a man. - THE OBSERVER - PAPERBACK OF THE WEEK

  • Cooper offers a view on some of the political issues which dominated the first half of the 20th century... as well as an insight into his extravagant social life.

  • This is a fabulous, jaw-dropping read. - SUNDAY TIMES - Robbie Hudson

  • compelling - DAILY TELEGRAPH

  • Duff Cooper was as close to the action as anyone during the dramatic events of the mid-20th century. He was also comically priapic, commiting enough sexual indiscretions to fill a dozen diaries. - SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

  • He discusses serious things intelligently, and casts and glittering and laconic light on a lost world of luxury and highly strung affairs, many of them his own. - SUNDAY TIMES

  • it's the combination of the public with the personal that makes these diaries riveting. - MAIL ON SUNDAY

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John Julius Norwich

After National Service, John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He was also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He wrote and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and was a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects. Lord Norwich was chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.

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