IT WAS ALWAYS difficult to classify Victor, the third Baron Rothschild, who was as rich in thents as' e was in family treasure. He was a distinguished scientist (elected FRS at the age of forty-three). He played cricket for Northamptonshre, boldly facing the body-line bowling of Larwood. He was the head of Edward Heath's Think Tank. He formed the best private collection of eighteenth-century English books, bindings and manuscripts. He was a skilful jazz pianist. He was chairman of the family bank. He was awarded the George Medal for bravery while wartime head of counter-sabotage at MI5. Truly, as Kenneth Rose says in this excellent book, his accomplishments and interests were enough for ten men.
Underlying everything, of course, was his membership of the Rothschlld clan. Ths provided great wealth and a deep cushion of luxury. And yet - almost as in a Victorian moral tale - he does not strike the reader of these pages as a particularly happy man. Rose writes of him with affection, as a loyal friend, but does not conceal