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The Duff Cooper Diaries Paperback – September 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0753821052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753821053
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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. -- Robbie Hudson SUNDAY TIMES 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

About the Author

Duff Cooper is he author of numerous biographies, notably Talleyrand, and the memoir Old Men Forget. John Julies Norwichhis only sontrained as a diplomat, but gave up the Foreign Office to write. He is the premier historian of Venice. He is currently writing a history of the Mediterranean.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Christian Schlect VINE VOICE on November 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for those interested in the public and private life of a key political player for HMG during the first half of the last century. Nicely edited by the diarist's son.

Duff Cooper was a WW I war hero, writer, member of the House of Commons, who resigned from the British cabinet over policy related to Hitler. He was a handler for the difficult General de Gaulle during WW II, then ambassador to France. While doing all this, he greatly enjoyed pretty women (often married) and very fine living. It is fitting that he ultimately died aboard ship on a New Year's Day.

An incredible role of bit players appear in these diaries: to name a few, the killer of Rasputin, Will Rogers, Cole Porter, Greta Garbo, and Evelyn Waugh.

Aside from the high society social history of the time, serious readers will learn more on important events and people, such as Churchill, the rise of Hitler, the handling of Palestine, De Gaulle and early post-war France, and the seeds of what is now the European Union.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mr Bassil A MARDELLI on October 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Duff Cooper's name is associated with two main tempestuous events.

He played a remarkable role during the Egyptian crises of the early 1920s. Saad Zaghlul - prominent Egyptian Lawyer and Prime Minister - demanded at the head of Wafd Party, independence for Egypt but the British arrested him to weaken the nationalist movement.

Britain's action sparked civil unrest degenerating to debauchery and unrestrained violence. About 1000 Egyptians were killed in one month when the British decided to deport Zaghlul to Malta.

That was what Egyptians call the 1919 First Revolution.

Cooper interfered with the British authorities in London and was able to convince his government to back down; Saad Zaghlul was released and returned to Egypt.

The Wafd `Delegation' arrived in Paris and presented its case, at Versailles' Peace Conference - post WWI - for immediate independence.

What Cooper succeeded in preserving as authentic support for Zaghlul, was ruined when the United States - the Champion of Wilson's 14 points - ended up backing Great Britain, and the British Protectorate over Egypt continued for thirty five more years.

Cooper was adamantly against Munich agreement signed in 1938 with Adolph Hitler. He was a staunch critic of Neville Chamberlain policy of `appeasement' and played active role that led to Chamberlain's downfall. This appears quite interesting considering Cooper's great admiration of `Talleyrand' - known as widely controversial and equivocal in European history -. Chamberlain was not naïve, he was another Talleyrand but his cohorts never noticed.

In 1943, under Winston Churchill, Cooper was appointed Britain's liaison to the Free French.

By 1944 he became Ambassador to France.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Adventurous Reader on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Diplomat, soldier, patriot, womanizer, husband of Diana Manners - the most beautiful woman of her time - the twenties and thirties - friend to Churchill, what makes this diary appealing is the honesty of Duff Cooper, a man who makes no effort to rationalize his sexual infidelities - or to claim a higher place in his world than what he managed to obtain through wit and hard work. A very likeable diary - human and literate - qualities that reflect its author - a diary that provides an excellent read as a social history of England between the wars as seen by a man born into a privilaged class. I'd recommend it for those with a keen interest in this period, and those who simply want a glimpse into that Brideshead world that Waugh fictionalized, and that Duff Cooper lived.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By History Fan on May 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I heartily recommend the Duff Cooper Diaries. This fellow experienced more in one year of his life than the vast majority of people ever do. Born into the aristocracy, he moved in the highest circles of power. A close friend of Churchill and the royal family, he held high positions in Parliament. He viewed world events and world-figures from closeup. He also drank even more than he had sex, which is saying a lot. Very entertaining book, easy to read,and informative. I was sorry when this long, compelling book ended.
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Format: Paperback
This is an astonishingly candid book, even for a diary. It is the life of one of the twentieth century’s most connected, amorous, bibulous figures, who was in the thick of history and war and tells all in this very readable memoir. It is well edited by his son and was published in 2005, half a century after the author’s death, when the world it describes and most of the people in it have vanished.

It begins at age 25, when Cooper is a young Foreign Office official in love, and reads like the interior life of the whole “Downton Abbey” crowd in London in the First World War. Make that part Downton Abbey, part P.G. Wodehouse, and part Evelyn Waugh. His set are all rich and aristocratic, and they are all being killed off daily in the slaughterhouse of war. He courts the sensationally beautiful Diana Manners (“Do I love her? I think I do.”). He works diligently but rather superficially at the Foreign Office (“There seems to be rather a mess in the Balkans.”) He has a Turkish bath and then dinner at the Automobile Club with a perennially ambitious Winston Churchill (“He is a strange creature.”) He gives a detailed insider account of the collapse of the Asquith government in the middle of the First World War, from the point of view of a young man about town. In 1927 he records the Foreign Office’s view of the murder of Rasputin and the rise of revolution in Russia, then plunges back into the endless round of lunch and dinner parties and lovemaking with married peeresses and unmarried parlor maids. That same year, the Foreign Office allowed him to enlist and he joined the Army as an officer in The Grenadiers.

Duff Cooper was the son of a society doctor and Diana Manners was the daughter of the Duke of Rutland, but at first neither had enough money to marry.
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