All three of Ron Chernow's books are lengthy and solidly researched, but his background as a journalist shows in his ability here to convey complex material in terms of vivid characters and a well-defined theme. As in his National Book Award-winning business history (The House of Morgan
) and his comprehensive biography of John D. Rockefeller (Titan
), in The Warburgs
Chernow employs marvelously detailed material to trace a single overarching story: the riveting and ultimately tragic odyssey of German Jews. The Warburgs were Hamburg's preeminent banking family from the 18th century until Hitler's Third Reich forced them to hand over their business to Aryans in 1938. But they also boasted among their family members a celebrated art historian (Aby Warburg), a Nobel Prize-winning scientist (Otto Warburg), and the financial angel of the New York City Ballet (Edward Warburg). Two of the "Famous Five" brothers married American women at the turn of the 20th century and became honored members of the Wall Street establishment, so Chernow's lively narrative imparts important U.S. social and economic history as well. But don't let all those fancy credentials intimidate you: The Warburgs
features enough flamboyant personalities and high-class gossip to make this as entertaining a read as the latest issue of People
magazine. --Wendy Smith
From Publishers Weekly
The rich, sprawling story of 400 years of a German-Jewish banking family by the author of The House of Morgan .
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.