Book Review – The Women of Rothschild

The Women of Rothschild
by Natalie Livingstone

The Women of Rothschild: The Untold Story of the World's Most Famous Dynasty by Natalie Livingstone book cover

The Women of Rothschild:
The Untold Story of the World’s Most Famous Dynasty
by Natalie Livingstone

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Book Description:

In The Women of Rothschild, Natalie Livingstone reveals the role of women in shaping the legacy of the famous Rothschild dynasty, synonymous with wealth and power. From the East End of London to the Eastern seaboard of the United States, from Spitalfields to Scottish castles, from Bletchley Park to Buchenwald, and from the Vatican to Palestine, Natalie Livingstone follows the extraordinary lives of the Rothschild women from the dawn of the nineteenth century to the early years of the twenty-first.

As Jews in a Christian society and women in a deeply patriarchal family, they were outsiders. Excluded from the family bank, they forged their own distinct dynasty of daughters and nieces, mothers and aunts. They became influential hostesses and talented diplomats, choreographing electoral campaigns, advising prime ministers, advocating for social reform, and trading on the stock exchange. Misfits and conformists, conservatives and idealists, performers and introverts, they mixed with everyone from Queen Victoria to Chaim Weizmann, Rossini to Isaiah Berlin, and the Duke of Wellington to Alec Guinness, as well as with amphetamine-dealers, suffragists and avant-garde artists. Rothschild women helped bring down ghetto walls in early nineteenth-century Frankfurt, inspired some of the most remarkable cultural movements of the Victorian period, and in the mid-twentieth century burst into America, where they patronized Thelonious Monk and drag-raced through Manhattan with Miles Davis.

Absorbing and compulsive, 
The Women of Rothschild gives voice to the complicated, privileged, and gifted women whose vision and tenacity shaped history.

My Take:

I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this book.
All thoughts and opinions are my own.

SK Book Review - The Women of Rothschild

Excellent research source for many areas of interest.

Would I have chosen this book if I came across it on a shelf? No.

Did I thoroughly enjoy this book? Yes.

Would I have LOVED to have this book in college for a few of my research papers? Absolutely.

This book has offered itself as an amazing secondary source for so many areas of research and interest – women’s history, Jewish history, Jewish women in the world, Jewish women in business, women in business, European history across many decades, sociology and the evolution of women’s existence in the world, and so much more.

While focusing on one particular, notorious family, this book also provides pivotal information about the world around these women and how the world impacted them and how they impacted the world.

A fascinating look into how “family” can help and/or hinder.

While the book does provide insight into the world, politics, business, sociology, and more over decades of modern history, it also provides thoughtful and impactful look into the lives of several women who were affected in various ways. This book really shows how your family can both hold you back (through explicitly denying you a place through a will) but also help you to soar and reach unimaginable goals (through your name, family connections, financial support, education, emotional support, and a firm foundation). Sometimes those truths exist at the same time.

The Final Verdict

SandyKay Book Rating Scale by stars

My rating: 4 stars

Would I recommend? Yes

Captivating secondary source filled with research gems
about these remarkable women of this notorious family.

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