Niall Ferguson

Glory in His Garden

Edmund de Rothschild: A Gilt-Edged Life, A Memoir

By

John Murray 256pp £22.50 order from our bookshop

When Edmund de Rothschild visited Japan in 1964, the Asahi Evening News described him as ‘the world’s wealthiest man, the banker who lords it over the world’s financial circles, the man who manipulates the world’s gold at will, the head of the Rothschild family of England which is still looked up to in mystical awe by the people of the world’. This is the kind of hyperbole that the author of this enjoyable, informative and disarmingly self-effacing memoir has had to endure all his life.

To be born a Rothschild is, one might think, an enviable predicament. The old nineteenth-century joke has two poor Viennese Jews watching a hugely ornate pram being pushed down the street. ‘So young,’ says one to the other, ‘and already a Rothschild.’ Yet being born a Rothschild in 1916 had its – relative – disadvantages.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The entertaining Howard Jacobson is in conversation with Prof John Mullan at the Queen’s Park Book Festival on Sund… ,
    • 'A modest and retiring man, Thompson spent his life describing apple varieties and recommending the best – Ribston… ,
    • 'Macfarlane is a poet with the instincts of a thriller writer, an autodidact in botany, mycology, geology and palae… ,
    • 'Some scholars attribute Shakespeare’s pre-eminence to four centuries of propaganda and not to the fact that Hamlet… ,
    • RT : We would appreciate any retweets ,
    • We've just stumbled on a gem from the LR archive. The emoluments page from May 1995, in which one reviewer asked to… ,
    • Unlike Mary Shelley's monstrous creation, Jeanette Winterson's Frankenstein-inspired novel feels 'barely alive', sa… ,