Blackwell North Amer Rebecca West's wide-ranging writing career, as a novelist, journalist, travel and history writer and biographer, made her one of the most feted and feared women of her day. Despite the acclaim she attracted throughout her life - her books were often bestsellers - her work has undeservedly fallen out of fashion. Carl Rollyson has had exclusive access to West's vast archive of letters, diaries, journals and manuscripts. He has interviewed her friends and family, many of whom speak out for the first time. He reveals new details about her affairs with HG Wells (by whom she had a son); the press magnate, Lord Beaverbrook; the renowned journalist, John Gunther; the Nuremberg judge, Francis Biddle; Charlie Chaplin and others. How Cicily Fairfield became the audacious Rebecca West, one of the century's great literary critics and reporters, producing masterpieces such as Black Lamb and Grey Falcon and The Meaning of Treason, is the story of this biography. In a life of extremes, she was seen as a feminist, an evil mother (Rollyson presents the definitive portrayal of her lifelong battle with her son, Anthony West), an ardent anti-communist, a gossip. Like Dr Johnson, she was both the scourge and the wit of her century. When she died on the Ides of March 1983, aged 90, she was a Dame of the British Empire and had finally made it to the screen Reds, a heroine of her age.