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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family…
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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family (original 2001; edition 2003)

by Mary S. Lovell

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1,286346,090 (4.04)1 / 106
Member:MeganAbbott
Title:The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family
Authors:Mary S. Lovell
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2003), Edition: Reprint, Paperback
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The Sisters: The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary S. Lovell (2001)

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The story of the six Mitford siblings, their parents and relations, with particular focus on the five sisters: literary Nancy, beautiful fascist Diana, home-maker Pam, Hitler-fantatic Unity, social justice journalist Decca, and peace-maker Duchess Deb. There is a lot of material to cover: the Mitfords were connected to everyone from Hitler to Churchill, and were prodigious letter writers to boot. I felt the author defends Diana too vociferously, and mocks Decca too strongly for her early foolish political efforts. Decca also comes under fire for calling her childhood unhappy, which Lovell spends rather a lot of time refuting. Deb and Pam are practically forgotten (and their brother Tom, who died in WWII, is never fully described); Deb's books are mentioned in passing, barely meriting a single sentence, and her marriage and efforts to transform Chatsworth into a money-making attraction aren't chronicled. Poor Pam falls out of the story completely after her philandering scientist husband divorces her.

That said, Lovell does a good job given that there are so many dynamic women to follow, and so many entangled relationships and nonsensical nicknames to decipher. I did end the book with a solid feeling for each of the sisters and their various relationships with each other. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
Back in the late '90s, I read several of Nancy Mitford's novels and histories, and Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels for good measure. The family seemed like unfailingly fascinating. This book does provide some new insights into the relationship of the Mitfords, especially the parents; however, so much for the unfailingly interesting bit. I skipped chunks which seemed redundant. Unity's stalking Hitler was creepy, not fascinating.

A common misconception among those who I know who have read the book is that the Mitford support of Facism was odd for between the wars England. Far from it!

Perhaps it is because there is so much out there about Nancy already, The Sisters does not develop her life very well or with much depth or insight. It is a bit of a wonder that there is never the whiff of a mention of the Duke of Devonshire's extreme alcoholism. Considering Debo left for a time period, considering how Debo made such a success of the family estate while being hampered by his drinking, it should have been mentioned! ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Back in the late '90s, I read several of Nancy Mitford's novels and histories, and Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels for good measure. The family seemed like unfailingly fascinating. This book does provide some new insights into the relationship of the Mitfords, especially the parents; however, so much for the unfailingly interesting bit. I skipped chunks which seemed redundant. Unity's stalking Hitler was creepy, not fascinating.

A common misconception among those who I know who have read the book is that the Mitford support of Facism was odd for between the wars England. Far from it!

Perhaps it is because there is so much out there about Nancy already, The Sisters does not develop her life very well or with much depth or insight. It is a bit of a wonder that there is never the whiff of a mention of the Duke of Devonshire's extreme alcoholism. Considering Debo left for a time period, considering how Debo made such a success of the family estate while being hampered by his drinking, it should have been mentioned! ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Back in the late '90s, I read several of Nancy Mitford's novels and histories, and Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels for good measure. The family seemed like unfailingly fascinating. This book does provide some new insights into the relationship of the Mitfords, especially the parents; however, so much for the unfailingly interesting bit. I skipped chunks which seemed redundant. Unity's stalking Hitler was creepy, not fascinating.

A common misconception among those who I know who have read the book is that the Mitford support of Facism was odd for between the wars England. Far from it!

Perhaps it is because there is so much out there about Nancy already, The Sisters does not develop her life very well or with much depth or insight. It is a bit of a wonder that there is never the whiff of a mention of the Duke of Devonshire's extreme alcoholism. Considering Debo left for a time period, considering how Debo made such a success of the family estate while being hampered by his drinking, it should have been mentioned! ( )
  lucybrown | Sep 27, 2015 |
Read during Summer 2002

It took me some time to read this thick biography of all 6 Mitford sisters but every page was interesting. Very well written and easy to follow, despite having to track 6 sisters of a large age range over two continents. Not suprisingly, the main focus is on the more famous sisters; Unity, Nancy, Diana, and Jessica. I read 'A Fine Old Conflict' by Jessica last fall so I knew some of the story from her perspective but I learned much more about Unity and Diana and their involement with both Facism and Nazi Germany. What an amazing family; talented, charismatic, but also capable of holding grudges and launching cruel barbs. The author is clearly fascinated by them but sticks to letters and interviews for her story. The notes, index, and bibliography are massive. I could read for a few years just based on the bibliography.
  amyem58 | Jul 14, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
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Sydney Bowles was fourteen years old when she first set eyes on David Freeman Mitford.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393324141, Paperback)

"[A] balanced, well-researched, and beautifully written biography....[an] exceptional achievement."—Bay Area Reporter, Tavo Amador

The Mitford girls were probably the most spectacular sister act of the twentieth century."—Vogue This is the story of a close, loving family splintered by the violent ideologies of Europe between the wars. Jessica was a Communist; Debo became the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy was one of the best-selling novelists of her day; the ethereally beautiful Diana was the most hated woman in England; and Unity Valkyrie, born in Swastika, Alaska, would become obsessed with Adolf Hitler. 24 b/w photographs

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:41 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A portrait of the Mitford sisters follows Jessica, a communist; Debo, the Duchess of Devonshire; Nancy, a best-selling novelist; Diana, who was the most hated woman in England; and Unity, who was obsessed with Adolf Hitler.

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» see all 3 descriptions

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