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!Read E-pub õ The Warburgs: The Twentieth-Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family ⚣ Bankers, philanthropists, scholars, socialites, artists, and politicians, the Warburgs stood at the pinnacle of German and, later, of German American Jewry They forged economic dynasties, built mansions and estates, assembled libraries, endowed charities, and advised a German kaiser and two American presidents But their very success made the Warburgs lightning rods for anti Semitism, and their sense of patriotism became increasingly dangerous in a Germany that had declared Jews the enemyRon Chernow s hugely fascinating history is a group portrait of a clan whose members were renowned for their brilliance, culture, and personal energy yet tragically vulnerable to the dark and irrational currents of the twentieth century Ron Chernow has gone on to have a prolific career as an author, most recently with a biography of Ulysses S Grant But this book is one of his earlier successes Before Chernow switched to leading political figures, he enmeshed himself in financial and banking history, but from the personal side of things focusing on the personalities that made and controlled large amounts of money, rather than the system itself And so that is what the reader finds here in The Warburgs Chernow chronicles th Ron Chernow has gone on to have a prolific career as an author, most recently with a biography of Ulysses S Grant But this book is one of his earlier successes Before Chernow switched to leading political figures, he enmeshed himself in financial and banking history, but from the personal side of things focusing on the personalities that made and controlled large amounts of money, rather than the system itself And so that is what the reader finds here in The Warburgs Chernow chronicles the rise and fall and rebirth of the famous German Jewish banking family, alternating focus between different family members.Unfortunately, there are so many family members involved here that it becomes difficult to keep track of them all For a significant portion of the book, Chernow focuses on the brothers Aby, Paul, Felix, and Max Another brother, Fritz, is not mentioned nearly as much despite also being a banker When I was finally getting comfortable remembering which brother did what and lived where, the narrative changes to the offspring And then there is cousin Siegfried, not to be confused with his grandfather of the same name While Chernow keeps the story moving, it is dizzying at times to keep up with the adventures of all of the myriad Warburgs Throw in their wives and daughters many of them very strong personalities in their own spheres indeed, Chernow begins the book with a chapter on Sara Warburg and the changing locations Germany, England, Israel, the United States, Sweden and you almost need a written outline to help keep track of where you are Chernow takes to referring to the married couples as a mixture of both first names Malice for Max and Alice, for example , which I found somewhat annoying Fortunately, Chernow does provide a family genealogy chart at the beginning of the book I referred to this numerous times while reading it Despite the large cast of characters and places, Chernow is a gifted storyteller and provides cogent analysis of all of the family drama that transpires In this case, that primarily centers around the family s Jewish heritage Some members are hard core and believe it is blasphemy to marry a non Jewish person Others go out of their way to distance themselves from their Judaism and to act like it is an ordeal to be endured, as indeed it sadly was for so many in Germany and other places Chernow reviews how the succeeding generations of the family gradually came to view their religion differently from the ones that came before This is most striking with the Warburgs born in the 1920s 1930s The last section of the book is, for me, the least interesting It revolves mainly around Siegmund and Eric Warburg, and tilted muchtowards Siegmund More so than most of the others, Siegmund is, ultimately, a control freak and a tyrant throwing telephones against the wall when he was angry, amongst numerous other spectacles Chernow delves into Siegmund s numerous complicated business dealings, thus bogging down the narrative as the reader struggles to keep one merger straight from the next Chernow is at his best when describing the buildups to both World Wars, and how German society and attitudes affected the Warburgs It is sickening to read about how the Jews were treated, especially when Hitler and the Third Reich came to power But Chernow writes that the jealousy and antagonism against Jews, especially wealthy ones, had not occurred overnight in Germany It was deep rooted and, at times, deadly for those who had no choice in how or what they were born as That the once great bank is almost completely ruined is no surprise That it somehow manages to hang on and then rebuild is a testament to the good stewardship and determination of a succession of Warburgs This saga of a German American family of jewish bankers was on my bucket list for quite some time After starting the book right after Christmas 2016, I finished it in only ten days, much faster than I thought Being written by one if not the of my favourite authors when it comes to biographies this was once again an easy read As always, Ron Chernow with this book lives up to his reputation as a brillant resercher and storyteller Mastering the task of bringing together the story of numerou This saga of a German American family of jewish bankers was on my bucket list for quite some time After starting the book right after Christmas 2016, I finished it in only ten days, much faster than I thought Being written by one if not the of my favourite authors when it comes to biographies this was once again an easy read As always, Ron Chernow with this book lives up to his reputation as a brillant resercher and storyteller Mastering the task of bringing together the story of numerous outstanding persons such as Aby S., Eric and Sir Sigmund Warburg to name only a few was no doubt a hard one Chernow mastered it quite well He is able to very well carve out the different charakters of very different people The book also does not stop at telling the history of the Warburg family or the different firms It s also a very enlightning on the history of Jews in Germany.Beside a story very well told, this book has one major downside for me The lack of order Overall, Chernow of course follows the timeline But jumping between the different persons involved in the Warburg history, there are periods of time covered twice, three times or , from different perspectives Going through the genarations but at the same time coming back to times already talked about, made it quite hard to follow some times More than once I had to consult the family tree which is contained at the begining of the book and it took me quite some time to get back on track The negatives hard to keep track of all the characters.The positives a remarkeable story, the family lived through important and interesting parts of US European World history The most interesting parts were about the German Jewish families perspective on the rise of Nazism Overall worth reading but definitely an investment. It was the Warburg s good fortune that whenever we were about to get very rich something would happen and we became poor and had to start over againSiegmund W Warburg, quoted in Ron Chernow s The Warburgs Working in finance, the Warburg name wasn t unknown to me, but it never carried the same cachet as the Rothchilds, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, or the Medicis Part of this is certainy geography Being American, I ve hadexposure to the myths and the institutions created by the RoIt was the Warburg s good fortune that whenever we were about to get very rich something would happen and we became poor and had to start over againSiegmund W Warburg, quoted in Ron Chernow s The Warburgs Working in finance, the Warburg name wasn t unknown to me, but it never carried the same cachet as the Rothchilds, the Morgans, the Rockefellers, or the Medicis Part of this is certainy geography Being American, I ve hadexposure to the myths and the institutions created by the Rockefellers and the Morgans the Mellons and the Goldman Sachs But it wasthan that The Warburg family and banking stretched over multiple generations and dynasties It also peaked right before the Nazis came into power, so the Warburgs faced a large amount of antisemetism like almost all European Jews during the late 19th and first half of the 20th century It is bold of Chernow to take on this family history It is a big thesis And it is a difficult task to write a compelling family history framed around banking and Germany and Nazis and not create a hot mess of a book At times, I felt this book was falling into a hot mess It spread out, banks fractured, families squabbled, and for a couple hundred pages the book was a chore But, ultimately, Chernow almost pulled it off I was fascinated by characters like Aby, Max, Paul, Felix and Fritz Warburg the Mittleweg Warburgs Sometimes, I felt as if each of the brothers carried a characteristic or passion I could relate to Most of the attention of the book is spent on brothers who bank the exception being Aby, the art Historian and rabid book collector , so the sisters while addressed, get a smaller role Later, as the Warburg banking empire starts to rebuild, attention is spent on cousins Eric, Paul, and James Mittleweg Warburgs , and Sir Siegmund Warburg Alsterufer Warburgs By this time, the Warburg families have spread mostly out of Germany to America, Switzerland, Sweden, the Netherlands, etc But like with the previous generation of Warburg men, I found characteristics of these dynamic men that I could relate to They were all different, often difficult and driven, but fascinating.Chernow writes primarily about banking families and American biographies Chernow s Banking Dynasties 1 Titan The Life of John D Rockefeller, Sr 2 The House of Morgan An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance 3 The Warburgs The Twentieth Century Odyssey of a Remarkable Jewish Family Chernow s American Political Biographies 1 Alexander Hamilton 2 Washington A Life 3 Grant Upon reviewing my reviews, I m convinced Chernow does slightly better at writing histories of individuals rather than families politics rather than finance However, I should note, I ve enjoyed ALL of his books and he s a master at his craft