C'est au beau milieu de la Seconde Guerre mondiale que Duff Cooper entreprit d'écrire une biographie du roi David. Il est alors ministre de l'Information dans le cabinet de Winston Churchill après avoir démissionné de son poste de Premier Lord de l'Amirauté au moment des accords de Munich. Son récit, fidèle aux Écritures, met savamment en scène le grand souverain juif et sans doute peut-on voir dans cette publication une parabole : celle d'une Angleterre, isolée, face au conquérant hitlérien. Mais la leçon est de toutes les époques.
Alfred Duff Cooper (1890-1954) fut un homme politique britannique, membre du Parti conservateur. Outre une brillante carrière qui le mena au Parlement et dans divers cabinets ministériels, il fut ambassadeur à Paris de 1947 à 1954 et publia six ouvrages dont une autobiographie Old Men Forget, une biographie de Talleyrand et un roman Operation Heartbreak.
Duff Cooper's classic biography charts the remarkable progress of Talleyrand; a silver-tongued master diplomat, infamous turncoat, peacekeeper and libertine. Talleyrand held high office in five successive regimes from France's Ancient Regime, into the Revolution of 1789, Robespierre's Terror, Napoleon's epic wars, and on through restored kings to more revolution. Duff Cooper brings Talleyrand vividly to life and paints an exhilarating picture of this tumultuous period in European history
Politician, poet and diplomat, Lord Norwich - better known as Duff Cooper - compiled his autobiography with the aid of his detailed and frank diaries. The many entries he quotes in these pages lend immediacy and humour to some of the most important events for twentieth-century Britain. During his twenty years in the House of Commons, Cooper held the offices of Financial Secretary to the War Office and Treasury, Secretary of State for War, First Lord of the Admiralty (famously resigning in protest at Chamberlain's disastrous Munich Agreement with Hitler, and only returning to government after Churchill became Prime Minister), Minister of Information, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and was the British Ambassador in Paris between 1944 and 1947. Old Men Forget was first published in 1953, the year before his death.
In the early hours of 30 April 1943, a corpse, wearing the uniform of an officer in the Royal Marines, was slipped into the waters off the south-west coast of Spain. With it was a briefcase, in which were papers detailing an imminent Allied invasion of Greece. As the British had anticipated, the supposedly neutral government of Fascist Spain turned the papers over to the Nazi High Command, who swallowed the story whole. it was perhaps the most decisive bluff of all time, for the Allies had not such plan: the purpose of 'Operation Mincemeat' was to blind the German High Command to their true objective - an attack on Southern Europe through Sicily. Though officially shrouded in secrecy, the operation soon became legendary (in part owing to Churchill's post-war habit of telling the story at dinner). it gave rise to two very different books. In 1950 came Duff Cooper's poignant nvel Operation Heartbreak, a romantic tale, one which the government - right up to PM Clement Attlee - atempted to suppress. Its publication prompted the intelligence service to pressurise the operation's mastermind, Ewen Montagu, into writing a factual account, The Man Who Never Was. This book presents two accounts, fictional and factual, of one of the greatest intelligence operations ever undertaken, with an introduction by Duff Cooper's son, John Julius Norwich. "Operation Heartbreak is a work of jewel-like brevity and intensity." New York Herald Tribune