THE YEARS BETWEEN: 1939-1944 by Cecil Beaton


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Following The Wandering Years, which covered his life from 1922 to 1939, Cecil Beaton's diary of The Years Between takes a more serious turn as he reviews the war years when as an official photographer for the Ministry of Information he saw service on many fronts. From Britain, he writes of the 1940 air raids, the functioning and esprit of the RAF in 1941 (with fascinated admiration), the Middle East in 1942, India and Burma in 1943-44. China in 1944. Between come interludes socializing with celebrities such as Ada Leverson, Noel Coward, Edith Olivier, Mayor of Wilton, photographing eminent persons such as Winston Churchill and the Royal Family. Equally adept with words, Beaton verbally portrays notables from Edith Evans (then in Heartbreak House) to Wavell (then Viceroy of India), who earned his deepest respect. Despite dangers passed, he felt over-privileged to remain alive when others (notably Rex Whistler) had died. His record is individualized by his own perception of personages and his singular participation in the war. Its American readership will doubtless be more circumscribed than the English, dealing as it does with their people and experience. It appeals to a certain elitism.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1965
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston