This is a collective biography of the quintessential banking dynasty which came to prominence in France and whose successive generations gave every language the superlative "rich as Rothschild". The French Rothchilds are perhaps the most fascinating branch of the family, with a history closely intertwined with that of post-Napoleonic France, the restoration and the July monarchy. In modern times, Rothschild banking and finance in France became the most important source of funds for governments, for development of the railroad system of France, Austria, Spain and Italy, then for the global exploitation of oil and other raw materials. Until the Tsar's encouragement of anti-Jewish pogroms caused them to withdraw, the French Rothschilds also held a monopoly on the financing of Russia's industrial development. Then came the decline of the dynasty between the World Wars. The Nazi conquest deprived the Rothschilds of their bank and stately homes, their envied art collections, and prestigious vineyards and race-horses.
This book describes the fate of the Rothschilds under German occupation, the post-war hunt for the family's pillaged art treasures, and the revival of the banking group under the Fourth and Fifth Republics. A final section describes the rebirth of the French dynasty, with a new generation of Rothschilds as dynamic as their 19th-century forebears.
An end and a beginning; fighting Napoleon; king of the Jews; the great Baron; hard times; another Emperor; the next generation; French Barons; the brothers Rothschild; "Jewish France"; Russia and Palestine; Dreyfus?; fin de siecle; Edouard; tightening circles; the extended family; war and peace; saving the franc; before the Depression; Guy's apprenticeship; the two hundred families; Rothschilds at war; Vichy; Goering; France without Rothschilds; liquidating the liquidators; revival; the banks Rothschild; the big change; Mitterand's folly; Edmond and the others; modern times; Rothschild legends; King David.