A memoir of the late British Fascist leader by his novelist son Nicholas Mosley (Judith, 1990, Serpent, 1989, etc.) may seem problematic, but as a biography of a controversial father by a loving and cleareyed son it is surprisingly charming. The Mosleys, it seems, were a very rum lot. Both Sir Oswald's father and grandfather lived apart from their wives, supposedly, in the case of his father, because of the man's insatiable and promiscuous sexual habits. Though Sir Oswald's own marriage to the daughter of Lord Curzon, the British foreign secretary, seems to have been a loving one, it was characterized by constant infidelities; Sir Oswald seems to have made love not only to most of his wife's friends but to her sister and her stepmother as well. He entered Parliament as a Conservative at age 22, became an Independent, then a Labor candidate, and was appointed to Ramsay MacDonald's cabinet in his 30's. He was regarded as one of the finest orators in the House of Commons, and as a possible future prime minister. But this was during the Depression, and Sir Oswald, to the left of the Labor Party, seems to have been appalled at the failure of Labor to honor its promises. It was at this point that he--perhaps influenced by his extraordinary impact on crowds and by the burgeoning of Fascism in Europe--seems to have gone wrong, and to have lacked the ordinary prudence to correct his mistake. The result was a fiasco, a dwindling following, and three years of imprisonment without trial at the start of WW II, followed by two years under house arrest. This is the inheritance with which the son seeks to grapple, and it is a tribute to his honesty and insight--as well as to the rakish recklessness and demonic ability of his subject--that it's hard to resist a measure of sympathy for one who has hitherto been regarded as beyond the pale.