Books by Artemis Cooper

THE BROKEN ROAD by Patrick Leigh Fermor
Released: March 4, 2014

"Incomplete but lovely nonetheless. Admirers of Fermor's writing will not be disappointed."
A posthumous completion of an adventure British author and adventurer Fermor (1915-2011) began more than 70 years ago: a walk from Holland to Istanbul. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 15, 2013

"A solid biography that should introduce more readers to Leigh Fermor's work."
A fondly admiring account of the English wayfarer captures his enormously infectious spirit. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1994

Beevor (The Spanish Civil War, 1983, etc.) and Cooper (editor, The Letters of Evelyn Waugh and Diana Cooper, 1992, etc.) have created what should surely become one of the definitive works on the Paris liberation. The authors take the reader through the beginning of France's disintegration at the time of defeat, the postwar order under De Gaulle, the Cold War, and up to the American tourist invasion. There are wonderful episodes and gossipy insights throughout, and an unforgettable gallery of characters. At the hour of defeat, De Gaulle and PÇtain meet accidentally on the steps of the ChÉteau de Muguet. ``You are the general,'' says PÇtain. ``But what's the use of rank during a defeat?'' ``But,'' retorts De Gaulle, ``it was during the retreat of 1914 that you yourself received your first stars.'' PÇtain: ``No comparison.'' On collaboration, the authors are wide-ranging and subtle. We see the actress Arletty cavorting at the Ritz with a lover from the Luftwaffe, as does Coco Chanel (who reportedly turned in a Jewish rival to the Gestapo). We see actor Sacha Guitry desperately trying to justify his meetings with Goering at Otto Abetz's famous collaborationist salon by claiming that it was simply ``par curiositÇ.'' Most harrowing of all descriptions are those of deportees returning, feebly trying to sing the ``Marseillaise'' on the station platforms in their rags. One of them, Charles Spitz, later recalled going to a restaurant, equipped with a civilian wallet and cash but unable to relinquish the small wooden box filled with pins, string, and other bits and pieces that had meant survival for him in a concentration camp. When asked to settle the bill, instead of emptying his wallet, he instinctively emptied the contents of the box onto the table. The joy of this volume is that nothing in it is labored or overworked: historical overviews dovetail perfectly with a close reading of daily life, always sharply and tersely drawn and using a rich supply of material. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 1, 1992

Lifetime of letters largely from Waugh to Lady Diana, a famous beauty ten years his senior, whom he loved but never bedded. Her letters to him have mostly vanished. These are not great letters, nor do they show Waugh at his most brutally Waspish, a celebrated quality that Cooper did not bring out in him. Waugh began writing Lady Diana, her editor/granddaughter Artemis Cooper tells us, in 1932, while deeply depressed (his wife had deserted him in 1929 after barely a year of marriage, after which he'd converted to Catholicism and thought he could not remarry), and went on writing to her until his death in 1966. The letters were lost until they resurfaced in 1987 and went up for sale. Early letters through WW II were posted by Waugh after parties or seeing Lady Diana play the Madonna on stage in The Miracle or while on his many travels to Abyssinia and elsewhere. They are in an intimate shorthand and filled with friends who pass by like fireflies. The letters rarely enter into any subject for more than a few sentences, though Waugh gets fairly stylish about Cyril Connolly: ``I think he sees himself as a sort of Public Relations Officer for Literature...He is a droll old sponge....'' The best letters come in the 1950's, though by then Waugh is a heavy drinker and Diana filled with black bouts of melancholia and her husband laid low with cirrhosis. Waugh asks, ``Darling Baby/Was our evening out hell? I was looking forward to it so much and what must I do but get pissed. I am so awfully sorry and ashamed. What did we talk about?'' Toward the end he's burned out, refers to his works as potboilers, and prays for death—which comes on Easter Sunday. Many charming moments, far apart. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >