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Rules of the Game; Beyond the Pale: Memoirs of Sir Oswald Mosley and Family Hardcover – June 1, 1991
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From Publishers Weekly
Sir Oswald Mosley (1896-1980) organized and led the British Union of Fascists during the 1930s and is remembered for his campaigns directed against the Jews. He and his wife, the former Diana Mitford, a friend of Hitler, were interned by the British government on unspecified charges throughout most of WW II, after which Mosley attempted unsuccessfully to revive the movement. His son Nicolas ( Hopeful Monsters ) here writes a pleasantly rambling but evasive memoir describing in general terms his father's military service in the First World War, his parliamentary career from 1918 to 1931, and his sudden appearance in '32 at the head of the small but vociferous Blackshirts. The author writes movingly about what it was like to serve as a British soldier in the war against Hitler and be regarded at the same time as the son of a notorious traitor. His loyalty to his father has seemingly constrained him to tread lightly in telling his story--understandable on the human level but disappointing to the reader. Photos.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Sir Oswald Mosley was the leader of the British Union of Fascists. He was imprisoned during World War II; so was his second wife Diana Mitford, who like her sister, Unity, was a friend of Hitler. His son by his first marriage tells here his personal story of the family and of his struggle to come to terms with his own "split attitudes" toward the father to whom he was devoted. The two sections appeared sepa rately in Britain (Secker & Warburg, 1981, 1983); this one-volume version is the first American edition. An absorbing complement to the standard biography, Robert Skidelsky's Oswald Mosley ( LJ 12/15/75), this is a highly readable, vivid portrayal of a controversial and charis matic figure. Libraries not owning the British edition should certainly consider this.
- Nancy C. Cridland, Indiana Univ. Libs., Bloomington
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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While skating over some of the odious aspects of his father's history, he nevertheless succeeded in displeasing his father's widow, Diana Mitford Mosley who would settle for nothing less than a completely laudatory biography. It's ironic.
It's true Mosley made some correct predictions about the world and what would happen to the British empire in a postwar world. Basically his position was that England should make common cause with the Fascists because their innate superiority gave them the right to maintain their empire, even if other people didn't want to be subjected to English (or German) rule.
Upper class British anti-semitism, which was no secret, was also shared by Mosley and those in his circle. To this day, many of them remain Holocaust-deniers. As Nancy Mitford pointed out, the Jews feared the Nazis so many made common cause with the communists and the British upper classes feared the communists, who might strip them of all their wealth and prerogatives, so many made common cause with Fascists. If anyone felt entitled to wealth and privilege, it was the British titled classes.
As a human being, Mosley was also notorious as a womanizer, and his treatment of women and his own children totally reflected his own narcissism. One interesting aspect of the Mosley biography by his son was the love and admiration he felt for his mother, who he felt had not been treated right by historical accounts and by her own husband.
Read other books by and about the Mitfords and the Mosleys. Should Diana and Oswald Mosley have been imprisoned as potential collaborators? That's another question. In the event of a German defeat of England, would Mosley have become another Petain? Probably, but who knows?
Meanwhile, these books are worth reading as both history and cautionary tales. Every country has its demagogues. Demagogues are often very attractive and Mosley certainly was.
Many Americans know that Mosley was the most prominent British fascist leader prior to the Second World War, but few know that prior to that he was the member of parliament who was given the task of constructing an economic plan capable of getting Britain out of the Great Depression.
Although many leading socialists of the day supported his ideas, including his personal friend in America, Franklin Roosevelt, the British government was not bold enough to act, adopting the attitude of just muddling through.
That's why Mosley started up his fascist movement. The death of Mosley's first wife contributed to his determination to implement his ideas, and the private correspondence published in this book explains why for the first time.
After World War 2, Mosley's view was that the nationalisms of Europe were obsolete, and that the European economic cooperation of the EEC was the first wave of a better future. He also forecasted that within the United States the European population would find a similar reorganizing just as necessary.