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Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower.

In his rich and nuanced portrait of the remarkable, elusive Rothschild family, Oxford scholar and best-selling author Niall Ferguson uncovers the secrets behind the family's phenomenal economic success. He reveals for the first time the details of the family's vast political network, which gave it access to and influence over many of the greatest statesmen of the age. And he tells a family saga, tracing the importance of unity and the profound role of Judaism in the lives of a dynasty that rose from the confines of the Frankfurt ghetto and later used its influence to assist oppressed Jews throughout Europe. 

A definitive work of impeccable scholarship with a thoroughly engaging narrative, The House of Rothschild is a biography of the rarest kind, in which mysterious and fascinating historical figures finally spring to life.

©2019 Niall Ferguson (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The House of Rothschild, Volume 1

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  • Overall
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Fascinating

Niall Ferguson is a preeminent historian. This was his first book that helped build his reputation as a meticulous researcher. This is a scholarly work and is not for everyone.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Ferguson has gone into depth and with great detail in telling the history of the Rothschild family. The author tells the story of a German Jewish family from the ghettoes who rose over many generations to be the most powerful and secretive family held financial institution in the world. At times the book is a bit tedious. Overall, I learned a great amount of most interesting information about finance, as well about the finance of wars. The family are Jewish and experienced extreme anti-Semitism over the centuries. I found the hatred of the Jews in Europe over the centuries shocking. They confined them to walled in ghettoes, made them wear certain markings on their clothing and then about every fifty years they killed them in massive numbers. I found the book fascinating, but it will be a while before I tackle volume two.

The book is twenty-eight hours and eleven minutes. Alexander Adams does an excellent job narrating the book. Alexander Adams is a pseudonym for narrator Grover Gardner. Gardner is an Audie winner and has won eighteen Earphone Awards. He is also Audiophile’s One of the Best Voices of the Century and a winner of the Golden Voice Award.

9 people found this helpful

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Very inside baseball.

Kind of dull unless your a banker and are into 19th century milieu of aristocrats, squabbles, wars and politics focused on lending practices as investments in growth potential as strictly a capitalist endeavor. Informative.

6 people found this helpful

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Great research, poor narrative

I am impressed by the amount of research that went into this book, but it needed, and didn't get, good editing. The narrative is something of a mess. For example, the author goes on at great length about the consequences of a "Belgian Crisis' of 1830 without devoting a single sentence to explaining the nature of the crisis. There's another Belgian Crisis later in the decade, also unexplained. What is it with those Belgians?! An entire chapter is devoted to the death of Nathan Rothschild, only to have him appear alive again in a later chapter. The revolutions of 1848 are covered, in terms of their effects on the Rothschilds, without a single sentence devoted to the roots of that crisis, or indeed, as to why it was such a big deal. The personalities of the protagonists are rather ghostly; the author does a poor job of bringing them to life. I've read bios of other bankers, notably Andrew Mellon, where the protagonist was much more real. Admittedly, here you have a multigenerational family, not a single individual. Whatever the reason, the result is rather tedious.

13 people found this helpful

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Great story but awful narrator

Loved the history of the family but sadly couldn’t listen to the narrator - his voice really droned on with a monotone voice!
I did persevere but couldn’t do more than 2/3 hours

2 people found this helpful

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inspiring

it was very inspiring i really enjoyed it hope there is a volume 2 very soon.

2 people found this helpful

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A great listen for history lovers

Very deep telling of the beginnings of a Jewish family dynasty, whose impact can still be felt today.

2 people found this helpful

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myth vs fact

First time author for me. The Rothschild family is one that I'd heard of for most of my life but never knew any real detail about and sometimes pondered who they were and where were they today, they seem to be everywhere, which basically they are.

This book goes back to the roots, Frankfurt, Germany in the 1700s. Even back then there were Jewish Ghettos, which became more famous in World War II. The ghetto wasn't even called that rather Gasse or street but they were the same thing. Even in the mid 1700s the Jews were forced to live in very small communities and were restricted from just about everything, even when they could venture into the world of the gentiles. They were limited as to how many could even live in the Gasse, how many could marry, how many could move in from the outside. In fact, even in my lifetime, I've heard the question asked as to how could the Jews be such good businessmen? Well, one reason is that they were restricted from just about every profession so they went to the areas where they weren't restricted and business was an area they could function. Into this scenario was born the House of Rothschild. From one person who grew up in this environment, the founder got very good at it. He saved his money and used it to make more money. He sent his sons to Vienna, Naples, Paris, and London and along with Frankfurt developed them all into business centers. They worked with governments, the wealthy, anyone or anything that needed money and got very good at it. They succeeded where others didn't and that success exists even today.

I would have been better off with an abridged version of this book. This one was too long and detailed for my interests. I suppose scholars and others with a keen interest on the subject might like it in this detail. But for my informational purposes I only needed more of an overview. Still it is a fascinating story.

1 person found this helpful

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Superb

I've read this three times to absorb all the nuances of information packed into this volume. WHEN IS BOOK 2 GOING TO BE AVAILABLE?!?! :->

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Rich in detail and education

I love Niall’s books and this is no exception. Well worth your time. The intricacies of the family and the history of Europe is fascinating

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if you like minutiea and tedium you'll love this

bouncing back and forth, it was sometimes difficult to follow in some controlled manner. I ha thought this was going to be more of a history of the rothschilds themselves rather than the story of the time, the politics and the economics of the era up to 1848. While I love history and historical figures, I'm not sure that I came away from this book knowing much more about the Rothschilds other than what I'd learned from other books.