Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The House of Rothchild: Volume 1:Money’s Prophets 1798 to 1848, by Niall Ferguson, 1999, 522 Pages

An Autodiactic Corner Primary Pick

The House of Rothchild: Volume 1: Money’s Prophets 1798 to 1848 by Niall Ferguson is close to essential reading for anyone into not just 19th century European history, banking history, Jewish history but much of 
European literature, especially that of Balzac (who fashioned an important character in La Comedie Humaine on James Rothchild), Emile Zola, and Marcel Proust.  

As Ferguson says in his introduction there is a great deal of web space devotrd to the Rothchild’s and it is all pretty much trash.  The Rothchilds are part of the fantsies of the right and the left.  Ferguson’s work gives the truth about the history of what by around 1850 was the richest family in the world. He explains how they became so wealthy in fascinating detail.  We learn of their government contacts, their private information networks, how governments received loans, how the bond market worked and also currency trading.  We learn about how laws dictating where Jews could live impacted them.  Rothchild sons were not permited to marry outside the family.

Ferguson explains how business was run and how politics impact the family.

Volume One covers from 1798 to 1848.  I hope to read Volume Two soon and will post more then.

This is an elegant history, extremely well documented.  My only quinble is that when Ferguson tells us that in 1845 the London Branch made a profit of £1,500,000 I cannot relate that to now.  You can find this through Google but I think a Conversion chart would have been helpful.

Niall Ferguson, MA, D.Phil., is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior fellow of the Center for European Studies, Harvard, where he served for twelve years as the Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History. He is also a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation Distinguished Scholar at the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. 

He is the author of fourteen books. His first, Paper and Iron: Hamburg Business and German Politics in the Era of Inflation 1897-1927, was short-listed for the History Today Book of the Year award, while the collection of essays he edited, Virtual History: Alternatives and Counterfactuals, was a UK bestseller. In 1998 he published to international critical acclaim The Pity of War: Explaining World War One and The World’s Banker: The History of the House of Rothschild. The latter won the Wadsworth Prize for Business History and was also short-listed for the Jewish Quarterly/Wingate Literary Award and the American National Jewish Book Award. In 2001, after a year as a Houblon-Norman Fellow at the Bank of England, he published The Cash Nexus: Money and Power in the Modern World, 1700-2000.  More detail can be found at

Mel u

1 comment:

Lisbeth @ The Content Reader said...

Very interesting. I have two books by Ferguson; The Ascent of Money and Civilization - The West and the Rest. I am happy to hear he is interesting to read. I have not yet read any of mine.