Kennedy and Boyd

Vienna Diary 1934
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By Mitchison, Naomi
ISBN 1849210217
SERIES The Naomi Mitchison Library
Paperback  288 pages
Published 30 August 2009
UK Price £14.95   Order from
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On February 24th, 1934 — shortly after the civil war in Austria and the defeat of the Socialists — Naomi Mitchison left England on a visit to Vienna in order to do what she could to relieve the terrible distress of the defeated.

In this day-by-day diary she tells us what she saw, did and felt: and the whole forms at once what is called a “human document” of rare poignancy and dramatic interest, and a book of some historical importance.

“Very few people have both money and leisure — and the will — to do this. I’ve got this because of my profession. I rang up V(ictor) G(ollancz)on Monday evening, and asked if he’d give me an advance on a — very hypothetical — book about it. He said he would, and I’m going on that. I couldn’t have otherwise. Simply as an observer I shall be some use; it’s the one thing I’m sure I can do well, though I don’t think I’m a good analyser. What I should like to do is to write a full diary every day, as truthful as it can possibly be. I shall type it on both sides of the sheet, so that it will fold small, and shall try and leave a duplicate with somebody—if I get my copy through, they can destroy theirs. But perhaps the whole thing is moonshine; perhaps there won’t be anything to write down! If so, looking back on this afternoon from whenever it is in the future, I shall see myself looking a perfect fool. However, that won’t be the first time ! Anyway, for what it’s worth. I feel all thrilled now, screwed up like a child going to play Indians. Perhaps I shall be more grown-up by the end of it.”

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