Top positive review
The story of a brilliant Jewish family through the generations
10 May 2018
To read 722 pages in just over two months for me is quite an achievement, so all credit to Mr Chernow, who has made the story of the Warburgs unputdownable. I'm interested in Judaism, business and German history, so this book ticked many boxes. It was fascinating how the family rose to prominence in Germany, but found themselves caught up with forces they couldn't control.
You would think that only the major characters would be of interest, but Chernow makes good stories out of lots of the more distant relations. It's intriguing the way that they lost their religion over time, but retained some of the traditions. Siegmund Warburg is given lots of attention - I liked the way he was portrayed warts and all.
The family produced many outstanding characters who achieved eminence in many difference fields - though their opinions of each other are often very caustic. This means you finish the book ambivalent about some of the successes. The Warburgs were divided in their attitudes to Israel, to the reputation of some of their leading figures and their judgement on post-war Germany. That's why it's such a compelling read.