Click Here To Purchase Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford

Author: Leslie Brody

ISBN: 978-1-58243-767-5

Publisher: Counterpoint Press

Jessica Mitford (called "Decca" by family and friends) was the sixth of seven children born to David Freeman-Mitford, 2nd Baron of Redesdale and wife Sydney.  She grew up a very privileged child in a series of country houses in England.  She didn't have much of a formal education as her mother did not believe in sending girls off to school but, Decca was a dedicated reader.  Two of her sisters, Unity and Diana were well known English supporters of Adolf Hitler and her father and mother claimed to be fascists.  Decca was not a big fan of the privileged set and when very young took to Communism.

When she was 19 years of age, Decca met her first husband Esmond Romilly, who was recovering from war wounds he received in the Spanish Civil War.  His claim to fame was that he was a nephew of Winston Churchill.  They fell in love and eloped to Spain where Esmond worked as a reporter for a local paper covering the war.  After a time of arguing with their relatives who opposed the marriage, they were, in fact able to marry.  They moved to England and lived in an industrial neighborhood, where Decca gave birth to a daughter.  Sadly, the little girl died in a measles epidemic when she was a baby.  The couple eventually moved to America before the onset of the United States entering World War II.  Decca and Romilly worked odd jobs in the states and settled finally in Washington, DC.  At the beginning of World War II, Romilly enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force while Decca stayed in Washington, where she was hoping to join him once he was transferred to England.  She gave birth to another child (a girl, Constansia) in 1941.  Esmond went missing in action in November, 1941 on his way back from a bombing raid over Germany.  Despite many people, including Churchill, looked for information on the flight but, no survivors of his flight were ever found.

Decca threw herself into war work after Esmond died and she met and married an American Civil Rights lawyer names Robert Treuhaft in 1943, eventually settling down in Oakland, CA.  The couple had two children, Nicholas (who was killed in a traffic accident) and Benjamin.  She wasn't a hovering mother but, loved her kids.  They described her as "matter-of-fact" and "not touchly-feely".

Throughout much of the early 1950s the couple worked with the local Civil Rights groups and were involved in civil rights campaigns.  Mitford and Treuhaft became active members of the Communist Party and in 1953 at the beginning of McCarthyism, were summoned to testify for the HUAC in Washington. They both refused to testify.  Finally, deciding that they could do more for justice outside the party they resigned in 1958. 

She was a very busy lady that wrote many books and had great success at it.  She never let the fact that she wasn't educated in the schools of higher learning stop her from doing what she was good at and didn't let any grass grow under her feet.  If you were a friend, she would do anything for you and if you were not.  Well, you figure it out.  The author does a first rate job describing Decca's life and it was a colorful life at most times.  Readers will enjoy this book it's a keeper.

Click Here To Purchase Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford