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Jessica Mitford

About This Author
Jessica Mitford--of the notorious Mitford clan--was one of the most celebrated muckraking journalists of our time. Among her books are Daughters and Rebels, The Trial of Dr. Spock, and Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking. Until her death in 1996, she lived in Oakland, California, with her husband, the labor lawyer Robert Treuhaft.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Jessica Mitford--of the notorious Mitford clan--was one of the most celebrated muckraking journalists of our time. Among her books are Daughters and Rebels, The Trial of Dr. Spock, and Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking. Until her death in 1996, she lived in Oakland, California, with her husband, the labor lawyer Robert Treuhaft.


From the Hardcover edition.
Books by thisAuthor
  • Decca

    Decca
    The Letters of Jessica Mitford
    “Decca” Mitford lived a larger-than-life life: born into the British aristocracy—one of the famous (and sometimes infamous) Mitford sisters—she ran away to Spain during the Spanish Civil War with her cousin Esmond Romilly, Winston Churchill’s nephew, then came to America, became a tireless political activist and a member of the Communist Party, and embarked on a brilliant career as a memoirist and muckraking journalist (her funeral-industry exposé, The American Way of Death, became an instant classic). She was a celebrated wit, a charmer, and throughout her life a prolific and passionate writer of letters—now gathered here. Decca’s correspondence crackles with irreverent humor and mischief, and with acute insight into human behavior (and misbehavior) that attests to her generous experience of the worlds of politics, the arts, journalism, publishing, and high and low society. Here is correspondence with everyone from Katharine Graham and George Jackson, Betty Friedan, Miss Manners, Julie Andrews, Maya Angelou, Harry Truman, and Hillary Rodham Clinton to Decca’s sisters the Duchess of Devonshire and the novelist Nancy Mitford, her parents, her husbands, her children, and her grandchildren. In a profile of J.K. Rowling, The Daily Telegraph (UK), said, “Her favorite drink is gin and tonic, her least favorite food, trip. Her heroine is Jessica Mitford.” From the Hardcover edition.

    Poison Penmanship

    Poison Penmanship
    The Gentle Art of Muckraking
    Jessica Mitford was a member of one of England’s most legendary families (among her sisters were the novelist Nancy Mitford and the current Duchess of Devonshire) and one of the great muckraking journalists of modern times. Leaving England for America, she pursued a career as an investigative reporter and unrepentant gadfly, publicizing not only the misdeeds of, most famously, the funeral business (The American Way of Death, a bestseller) and the prison business (Kind and Usual Punishment), but also of writing schools and weight-loss programs. Mitford’s diligence, unfailing skepticism, and acid pen made her one of the great chroniclers of the mischief people get up to in the pursuit of profit and the name of good. Poison Penmanship collects seventeen of Mitford’s finest pieces—about everything from crummy spas to network-TV censorship—and fills them out with the story of how she got the scoop and, no less fascinating, how the story developed after publication. The book is a delight to read: few journalists have ever been as funny as Mitford, or as gifted at getting around in those dark, cobwebbed corners where modern America fashions its shiny promises. It’s also an unequaled and necessary manual of the fine art of investigative reporting.

    Hons and Rebels

    Hons and Rebels
    The Classic Memoir of One of Last Century's...
    First published in 1960, Jessica Mitford's autobiography is an account of the enclosed and eccentric childhood through which Nancy, Diana, Pam, Unity, Decca, and Debo lived. In writing of their upbringing between the wars, she also writes of her own commitment to communism and of her elopement to the Spanish Civil War with Esmond Romilly.

    The American Way of Death Revisited

    The American Way of Death Revisited
    "Mitford's funny and unforgiving book is the best memento mori we are likely to get.  It should be updated and reissued each decade for our spiritual health."--The New York Review of Books Only the scathing wit and searching intelligence of Jessica Mitford could turn an exposé of the American funeral industry into a book that is at once deadly serious and side-splittingly funny. When first published in 1963 this landmark of investigative journalism became a runaway bestseller and resulted in legislation to protect grieving families from the unscrupulous sales practices of those in "the dismal trade." Just before her death in 1996, Mitford thoroughly revised and updated her classic study. The American Way of Death Revisited confronts new trends, including the success of the profession's lobbyists in Washington, inflated cremation costs, the telemarketing of pay-in-advance graves, and the effects of monopolies in a death-care industry now dominated by multinational corporations. With its hard-nosed consumer activism and a satiric vision out of Evelyn Waugh's novel The Loved One, The American Way of Death Revisited will not fail to inform, delight, and disturb. "Brilliant--hilarious--A must-read for anyone planning to throw a funeral in their lifetime."--New York Post "Witty and penetrating--it speaks the truth."--The Washington Post

  • Portraits in Print

    Portraits in Print
    A Collection of Profiles and the Stories Behind...
    -- New York Times Book Review

    Faces of Philip

    Faces of Philip
    A Memoir of Philip Toynbee

    The American Way of Death

    The American Way of Death

    Muerte a la americana

    Muerte a la americana
    El negocio de la pompa funebre en Estados Unidos
    A scathing and mordantly funny critique of the American funeral industry, this seminal work of muckraking condemns the excesses of high-pressure salesmanship and lapses in taste of the “death-care” industry. Chapters examine, among other topics, funeral prepayment, multinational funeral corporations, the collusion and competition between the clergy and undertakers, and the failures of the Federal Trade Commission to enforce laws banning morticians’ deceptive practices. This book will leave readers laughing, even as it evokes their ire at the injustices of the funeral industry.   Una crítica cáustica y mordazmente humorística de la industria funeraria americana, esta obra fundamental del reportaje de la denuncia condena el hostigamiento que practica dicha industria y su mal gusto. Los capítulos examinan, entre otros temas, el prepago para los funerales, las corporaciones funerarias multinacionales, la colusión entre el clero y los directores de pompas fúnebres y la inhabilidad de la Comisión Federal del Comercio de imponer leyes que prohíben las prácticas engañosas de los agentes funerarios. Este libro hará reír a los lectores a la misma vez que provocará su ira contra la industria funeraria.

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