25 Dec 2008 – from Matthew

Born a Churchill (niece of Winston) and marrying Anthony Eden, Clarissa Eden is inextricably linked into the great political familes of the mid-20th century.  This memoir, admirably edited by Cate Haste, draws together letters, diary entries and political events of the time to provide a narrative of Lady Avon’s life from society and fun with the Lees-Milnes and Beatons of the age, to diplomacy, statecraft and crisis management.  Always interesting and with a wry take on events and people (she likes Prince Philip for this lack of tact), a great treat of a read.  It fits well into my mid-century biography collection as well as being a good read in its own right.

Made more interesting personally by the fact that the University holds Eden’s papers in the Avon Room; I used to have to phone Clarissa Eden to check that researchers were allowed to consult the archive, and my present colleague Phil is mentioned in the acknowledgements.