Joseph's Reviews > The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War

The House of Wittgenstein by Alexander Waugh
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's review
Mar 08, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: history

still reading this book. the author has a unique way of jumping from one family member to another, and this can be a bit frustrating if you're inclined to follow a more traditional linear narrative. this family, however, has a lot of interesting personalities that the author has no problem sorting through, although a scorecard would be nice at times.

UPDATE: the book has picked up quite a bit as the author moves the House of Wittgenstein into WW2. the family's dealings with the Nazis, as they learn that they are to be classified as Jewish, makes good and somewhat exciting reading. the various attempts to change that status, as well as to leave Austria, are captivating. the author also does a great job of setting up the political atmosphere in Austria prior to the Anchluss. only about 25 pages to go.

UPDATE2: having finished the book, i can only rate it 3 stars. ultimately, although the author does a good job of covering a large family, it really dies out around the time of WW2. unless the Wittgenstein family all of a sudden became uninteresting, the lack of detail during and after the war is curious, after the meticulous accounts in the first 3/4 of the book. it ends rather suddenly, with almost a cursory summation of what happened to the various family members in their last years. that was rather disappointing.

still, i recommend the book because Waugh has great attention to detail most of the time, and because this family lived through some interesting times. only occasionally does the reader get bogged down, and then usually because of the multitude of characters.

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