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The House of Rothschild, Vol 1: Money's Prophets, 1798-1848

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,294 ratings  ·  72 reviews
In his rich and nuanced portrait of the remarkable, elusive Rothschild family, Oxford scholar and bestselling author Niall Ferguson uncovers the secrets behind the family's phenomenal economic success. He reveals for the first time the details of the family's vast political network, which gave it access to and influence over many of the greatest statesmen of the age. And h ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published November 25th 1999 by Penguin (first published November 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Jean
Niall Ferguson is a preeminent historian. This was his first book that helped build his reputation as a meticulous researcher. This is a scholarly work and is not for everyone.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Ferguson has gone into depth and with great detail in telling the history of the Rothschild family. The author tells the story of a German Jewish family from the ghettoes who rose over many generations to be the most powerful and secretive family held financial institut
...more
W. Littlejohn
Mar 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
What if someone wrote a book claiming that the development of modern capitalism was the product of a secretive and inbred family of Jews, for half a century the wealthiest men alive, the bankers to every major European monarch, who gained their fortune as war profiteers in the age of Napoloeon and went on to control the international bond market and the currency exchanges of Europe, who pulled the strings of diplomacy and empire throughout the Hundred Years’ Peace when Europe ruled the world, a ...more
Rob
Mar 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography, history
I read this book before Niall Ferguson became the favourite historian of Neoliberalism. This was a deadly boring book. His style was 'then he did that and then did the other etc etc'. It seemingly avoided all but a cursory examination of the family's Jewishness and what it meant to be a Jewish financier in Central Europe.
He is the most highly overrated living historian in the English speaking world.
...more
Straker
Sep 03, 2009 rated it did not like it
Tedious in the extreme. Should come packaged with a machete, because you have to hack your way through it.
Stevenglinert
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you, like me, groan loudly at shows and cultural items that glorify European nobility, from Pierre in War and Peace to all the Victorian movies/shows where every male actor looks like Eddie Redmayne, then the story of Rothschilds will be deeply satisfying. Niall Ferguson is a fantastic writer, but if I may riff for a second...

Nathaniel Rothschild is Kanye West. To the European nobles he did business with: He knows you don't like him, he sees you cringing at his Jewishness, but he also knows h
...more
Lex Alexander
Feb 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An amazing account of how one family defied social stigmas and broke through the proverbial glass ceiling to become the premiere banking family of the world. Ferguson does a masterful job of explaining in excruciating detail just how this small tight knit family came to conquer the world financially.
Mike
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

The House of Rothschild is a hefty tome covering 200 years and several generations of this family. It is published in two volumes, each about 650 pages long in small (?6 point?) type. In hard cover, each one qualifies as a kitten crusher; together they could harm a small pony.

Since they were published as a set, I will be writing a common review.

The author is Niall Ferguson an unrepentant booster of monetary systems and capitalism. You may remember him from the PBS series, “The Ascent of Money: A
...more
Frank Stein
Jun 11, 2014 rated it really liked it

This is a sprawling, fascinating, deep and finally difficult work of history, one that offers an original glance at the 19th century through the eyes of the family that financed much of it.

Ferguson shows convincingly how a family of Frankfurt antique dealers ascended the hierarchy of finance during the Napoleanic wars to become the richest individuals in history. Thanks to Mayer Amschel's five sons scattered across Europe, in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Naples and Vienna, and their family creed of
...more
jrendocrine
Nov 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
Always wanted to know more about the Rothschilds, and it was a Kindle deal. But I give up (30%) -

This is a HIGHLY scholarly book - this is not for the causal reader who wants to learn a little about the Rothschilds. It is full on financial detail. The research is impressive, and I would think that people working on their pHDs in finance and economics would do well to read this. The part I read gave intense detail - how much was spent here, how much lent there, who what where in the lending, Nat
...more
Marks54
Apr 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first volume of Ferguson's two volume history of the Rothschild family. For some reason, I did not post this when I posted an entry for the second volume. I loved the book, for reasons I mentioned for volume 2. I have read several of his books and for me, this two volume set is the best and well worth the effort to read. ...more
Susan
Mar 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was interested to learn about the beginnings and financial emergence of the Rothschilds--The Red Shield dynasty. I wasn't so interested in the day-to-day trifles; there was too much. I went on to other books to learn more about the workings of finance and the European banking dynasties. Niall Ferguson is an expert on economy, and I have learned a lot from him in the past. ...more
Nick Harriss
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finance
A fascinating review on the history of the Rothschild family. Rather slow in places, especially in the middle, but a worthwhile read. It still doesn't quite answer how the family managed to accumulate so much capital so quickly in the first 20 years of the 19th century, but authoritative and lacking in the conspiracy theories often surrounding the family. ...more
Chris Davidge
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
70% of the book was awesome, but it dragged on at the end and I was definitely excited to have it finished. Overall, I would recommend this book if you've ever wondered about the empire built by the Rothschild's and the barriers that they overcame. ...more
Tom
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Who knew the Rothschild's had such an impact on the modern era? Niall Ferguson is perhaps the best historical author going. ...more
Czarny Pies
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-history
This is probably the best book of Niall Ferguson who much prefers giving us his opinion to doing real research. The House of Rothschild is a fascinating study of a brilliant family that made a great contribution to history and the arts.

Ferguson gives us a fascinating view of the Rothschilds as they rise to riches and come to hold power. The Rothschilds used their influence to discourage war and to promote peace. As a consequence the pro-war parties in several countries launched propaganda campai
...more
David Glad
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It was an amazing account of how merchants could set themselves up as bankers and establish banking houses across multiple countries, overcome the barriers just about all other Jews faced at the time (including restrictions on land ownership), and how family members could be "kept in line."

The family in some sense seemed to resemble gods to their fellow Jewish people, the family also heaped scorn on those who converted to Christianity for personal (and apparently shortsighted) gain, while simil
...more
Jacob
Sep 08, 2012 rated it liked it
These two books (volume 1 and 2) are way more detailed than i cared for. The gist of the Rothschild family is they made their fortune as one of the first lenders to european monarchies. When kings and princes wanted to finance their wars they turned to only a handful of private wealthy businessmen who had the funds to fill their need. The Rothschilds kept this in their family by rearing their children to learn the business and preventing those who married in from being involved. Eventually, by t ...more
Zach Franz
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
My chief reason for reading this book was the mystery surrounding the Rothschild dynasty. How could so little be known about so powerful a family? Niall Ferguson's book (just this first volume) certainly brings to light much of the available information we have on the Rothschilds. In fact, perhaps too much. I could only get halfway through this volume before throwing in the towel. I love to read about history, but Ferguson's writing style lacks the lure of a true narrative. It feels more like he ...more
Amry Saja
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
Got to admit the devil lies in the details
Ferguson unfold all he could about the Family of rothschild in thorough way
I need to read it few times to absorb the message and thrill present of the books

I am afraid I got an hello effect of Fergusson other book that I loved most like The war of the world, Civilization.

But seems like the angle of Fergusson writing on these book its not exactly as I expeceted to be. Perhaps one's must read few books of same subject to get right angle of that we aim for
...more
Andrew
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
some of it went a bit over my head, i'm afraid. I'm not that well versed in how the global banking system works in present day, let alone during the years covered by this book so some of the economic terms and financial products discussed were a little confusing to me. It's something I'd like to come back to after giving myself a better education on global finance/economy. ...more
Chris
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Ferguson before he started writing nonsense about US politics.
Adam Meek
informative, but dry as a bone.
Chayong
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Blinkist. Interesting. Looking for volume 2.
Paul Mamani
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time, the Rothschilds were the wealthiest people on earth. In a thorough, diligent study, Ferguson (History/Oxford) completes his grand chronicle of the family that achieved history’s greatest economic hegemony (The House of Rothschild: Money’s Prophets, 1798-1848, 1998). Access to family records, hitherto unavailable, was facilitated by the English branch of the clan for this monumental authorized history. Ferguson makes their engrossing story an advanced seminar on the financial hi ...more
Robert Gebhardt
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies, business
An extremely thorough look at a very interesting family I knew very little about.

This book has a lot of detail, which I enjoyed quite a bit. In addition to detail about the family it goes into depth about finance and economics, and the politics (and wars, etc.) going on in Europe during the first half of the 19th century, obviously as how they pertain to the Rothschild family.

This family is a real rags to riches family. Starting from unthinkable conditions (and restrictions) in Frankfurt's Jug
...more
Tim
Feb 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is fascinating but very dense. Not for every reader. If you love financial history though, it is great.

Ferguson charts the travails of the Rothschilds as they expand from humble merchants in Frankfurt to probably the richest and most influential bankers ever. He has an interesting analysis that supports his hypothesis that no one in this world has ever been richer compared to his fellow man than Nathan Rothschild.

By translating internal documentation from the original Judendeutsch he shows
...more
David Ross
Oct 14, 2017 rated it liked it
I don't work in finance so much of the nuts and bolts of the day to day Rothschild business is a bit over my head and made this a bit dry at times. That being said, I found the historical aspects of this book fascinating and especially given the rise of internet speculation about this particular family. I found it dispelled a lot of rumours through a surprisingly honest account of this Rothschild sanctioned book. The author has great access to their archives so it's hardly impartial and you woul ...more
Dr.J.G.
The official description speaks of Niall Ferguson, an Oxford scholar, writing with exhaustive research about

"a dynasty that rose from the confines of the Frankfurt ghetto and later used its influence to assist oppressed Jews throughout Europe"

in this work, which contrasts markedly with the posts in a group of this name on the site. The book ought to be as interesting to read as the group posts (only one member before me, and since I could not invite anyone that is probably the status quo even
...more
Ivan Kreimer
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookshelf
An interesting book about the story of one of the world's most important families ever to exist. Having changed the 19th century like no other family — not even the Napoleons — the book promised a lot of insights on the real story of the Rothschild. Unfortunately, the author made the entire story quite boring and dull.

At moments, I didn't know what he meant by many of the economic concepts discussed, and to be honest, it bored me a lot. It'd have been great if the author had added more interest
...more
Danny
May 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Apparently the definitive "official" book about this family. Niall had full support of the family...except that he didn't have access to all the records after 1911...interesting.

Thus far, at page 14 of this very dense book, it's been an entirely positive portrayal.
...more
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Niall Ferguson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, former Laurence A. Tisch Professor of History at Harvard University and current senior fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University, a visiting professor at Tsinghua University, Beijing, and founder and managing director of advisory firm Greenmantle LLC.

The author of 15 books, Ferguson is writin
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