1st complete history of the Rothschild banking dynasty with full access to worldwide archives. Ever since the Rothschild's spectacular rise to preeminence in European finance during the last, turbulent years of the Napoleonicwars, a mythology has grown up around the family and it's firms. It is no exaggeration to say that the Rothschilds became 1 of theliving legends of the 19th century: the personfication of a new era in which money determined status and power, an era in which 5 Jewish brothers born into the wretchedness of the Frnakfurt Ghetto could rise by their own ingenuity to become ' the worlds bankers' - dominating the international financial markets, rubbing shoulders with the social elite, patronising the great artists and architects of the era and above all exerting a decisive, if veiled, influence over the world's monarchs and statesmen. Using a wealth of archival sources as well as a vast amount of little known contemporary and more recent secondary literature, Niall Ferguson's definitive study will finally hold the mirror of reality up to the face of myth. The result promises not only to do justice to the history of Rothschilds, but to revolutionise the history of the years of their rise and preeminence, and to reveal fascinating continuities from the 19th century to our own time.