As Jews in a Christian society and women in a deeply patriarchal family, the Rothschild women 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. Natalie Livingstone follows the extraordinary lives of the Rothschild women from the dawn of the 19h century to the early years of the 21st.
Entrancing ... Livingstone half-heartedly costumes her heroines as contemporary figures whose vision of 'gender and sexuality' was innocent of all 'binary' simplemindedness, but her gossip-feast of a book is really about the survival, in the ostensibly rational world of finance, of enchantments one would have thought had gone the way of sorcery and alchemy.
A commendable if curiously titled book on a splendid subject. (Why not simply The Rothschild Women?) ... Well-researched ... These high-minded 19th-century ladies fail to capture a lively historian’s imagination. For that spark, readers must wait for Miriam. Did Livingstone consider writing a life of the woman who outshines all the rest in her book? It’s hard not to suspect as much ... The Rothschilds’ tradition of guarding their privacy makes life difficult for a biographer ... Evidently much still remains to be told about this remarkable family.