This remarkable anthology includes entries from more than 170 diarists and is the most wide-ranging and comprehensive ever compiled. Ten years in the making, The Assassin's Cloak pays tribute to a fascinating genre that is at once the most intimate and public of all literary forms.
The scope of The Assassin's Cloak is peerless and international, and appropriately it begins with Samuel Pepys, the Shakespeare of all diarists. It reaches across the centuries with several diary excerpts for every day of the year and along the way we meet cads and charmers, sailors and psychopaths, rock stars and prima ballerinas, gossips, drunks, snobs, lechers, and lovers. There is humor and tragedy, history and the humdrum, often recorded on the same day or in the same entry.
The diarists are likewise diverse, including John Steinbeck, Leo Tolstoy, Sylvia Plath, Andy Warhol, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, Evelyn Waugh, Anne Frank, Joseph Goebbels, Che Guevara, Dawn Powell, and Queen Victoria. Imprinted on the minds of the editors were the words of "Chips" Channon, one of the twentieth century's greatest diarists. "What is more dull than a discreet diary?" he asked, before supplying his own answer: "One might as well have a discreet soul."