Tuesday, 10 September 2013

DIANA COOPER – Philip Ziegler, 1981

Not many modern readers would find this sympathetic portrait of Diana Cooper entirely palatable. She was of her time and therefore exhibited the attitudes and prejudices of that time. But she was such an interesting character, due mainly to her naïve assumption that the world revolved around her and her circle.
She was staying at the Dorchester Hotel during the first part of World War II and this excerpt illustrates completely the way she thought: That autumn the blitz burst over London. Diana telephoned Kommer. He was to approach the President, who in turn was to urge the Pope to call on the belligerents to stop bombing capital cities. But the next sentence also shows Ziegler’s awareness of her faults and his dry way of commenting on them: Somewhere along the chain of command the message faltered and was lost.
The Coopers, however, then went on to run the British Embassy in Paris and did a great deal of good for the war effort.
Diana lived a long and full life. In her teenage years, as
Diana Manners, she was the most popular of all the debutantes. She was known as the most beautiful woman in the country. She was an actress and inspired characters by Evelyn Waugh and F Scott Fitzgerald.

This book gives a full account of all her successes and failures and gives a fascinating glimpse into the social whirl which was her life.

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