|JOHN MURRAY PUBLISHERS|
the observer Sat 01 August 2009
James Lees-Milne is 75 years old when these diaries begin, retired from the National Trust but still a prolific writer. Books such as The Bachelor Duke and Venetian Evenings are, however, secondary to his diaries as a literary achievement. As well as the preoccupations inevitable in a man of his age - his health and loneliness following his wife's death - Lees-Milne's reports of the beauty of Mick Jagger and lunch with the Prince of Wales carry you through to the poignant end: "My handwriting is very shakey. Dammit." Fans will find nothing new in this volume, which abridges the contents of five previously published books, but as an introduction to his waspish, beautifully written observations, it is perfect.