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Hons and Rebels
 
 
Author
Jessica Mitford. Christopher Hitchens, intro.
Publisher New York Review Books  
Format paperback
ISBN 9781590171103
Pages/Publication Date 284/2004
Daedalus Item Code 29770
This item is not available.
Description
Growing up in Asthall Manor, the Cotswold estate of David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron Redesdale, Jessica Mitford was among the last generation raised in the traditional lifestyle of the British aristocracy. Hons and Rebels is her enchanting and absorbing memoir of an isolated and eccentric upbringing, concealing profound wisdom and depth of feeling beneath a witty, light-hearted surface. Mitford tells of being the fifth of the six formidable Mitford sisters, of the alternating rages and indulgences of her xenophobic father, and of becoming the "red sheep" in her fascist-leaning family (while her sister Unity decorated her side of their room with swastikas, Jessica put up the communist hammer and sickle). Mitford's upbringing was, as she dryly remarks, "not exactly conventional.... Debo spent silent hours in the chicken house learning to do an exact imitation of the look of pained concentration that comes over a hen's face when it is laying an egg.... Unity and I made up a complete language called Boudledidge, unintelligible to any but ourselves, in which we translated various dirty songs (for safe singing in front of the grown-ups)." But Mitford found her family's world as smothering as it was singular and, determined to escape it, she eloped with Esmond Romilly, Churchill's nephew, to go fight in the Spanish Civil War. The ensuing scandal, in which a British destroyer was dispatched to recover the two truants, inspires some of Mitford's funniest, and most pointed, pages.

"More than an extremely amusing autobiography ... Mitford has evoked an entire generation ... full of the music of time."Sunday Times (London)

 
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