Women Of Rothschild Review: The Ladies Were Even More Extraordinary Than Their Male Counterparts

The women of Rothschild

Nathalie Livingstone John Murray £ 25


The fabulously wealthy Rothschild dynasty has been written over and over again, but always with an emphasis on men.

All of these Carl, Lionel and Nathan not only ran the extremely profitable banks that bore their names, but were also active behind the scenes as generous philanthropists who gave millions and as wise advisers to presidents and prime ministers on advantages of maintaining international peace.

But what about women? In this glittering family saga, Natalie Livingstone reveals that the Rothschild ladies were even more extraordinary than their fathers, brothers and husbands.

Equally fiery were the women of the later Rothschild generations.  Miriam (above) has become a code breaker in Bletchley and a leading entomologist

Equally fiery were the women of the later Rothschild generations. Miriam (above) has become a code breaker in Bletchley and a leading entomologist

The banking clan might have been enlightened in some ways, but it was also deeply patriarchal. No female relative was allowed to work for the company. Instead, these lively and intelligent women were forced to forge their own path to fulfillment.

One of the most intriguing of these was Blanche Fitzroy, who accepted a proposal from bohemian Scottish soldier turned artist Sir Coutts Lindsay.

Together they created the avant-garde Grosvenor Gallery in 1870 as an alternative to the more stifling Royal Academy and championed the “modern” art of painters such as Whistler.

Blanche also knew what she was thinking when it came to marriage. Coutts refused to give up his chain of mistresses, so Blanche left, taking her two daughters with her.

Fortunately, her Rothschild parents included several prominent attorneys who were successful in protecting her vast dowry and even leaving the opportunistic Coutts worse off than when he first saw her and her bank balance.

In other ways, the celibate life was his creation. She became an artist in her own right, invited to set up her studio in the house of Edward Burne-Jones, the greatest painter of the time. She was also a published poet.

Equally fiery were the women of the later Rothschild generations. Miriam, who was born at the turn of the 20th century, has become a Bletchley code breaker and leading entomologist.

Intrepid in matters of morality, bisexual Miriam was happy to testify before the Wolfenden Committee, which ultimately decriminalized homosexuality in the 1960s.

Then there was Miriam’s sister, Nica, who abandoned her aristocratic husband to move to America, where she became the patroness, and possibly the lover, of great jazz musicians, including Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker.

Nica’s Rothschild parents disinherited “Baroness Be-bop,” as she was called, but she didn’t mind at all.

She turned her New York home into a place where musicians could jam and take drugs, before driving them to their concerts in her battered Bentley.

No amount of far-fetched stories, however, can lessen the prejudices that all Rothschilds have faced.

Anti-Semitism was rampant and often turned murderous. Several of the women in this book played key roles in helping families escape Hitler’s Holocaust. Later, some of them contributed to the creation of Israel.

With consummate skill, Livingstone weaves all these threads, darkness and light, and the result is both thrilling and moving.

Trust no one: in the world of deep fakes

Michael grothaus Hodder & Stoughton € 18.99


During the early days of smartphones, many people used face swap apps, mostly for fun.

But the rapid advancements in this technology, along with the binge eating frenzy that is the internet, have turned a seemingly harmless activity into something much more sinister, capable of spreading malicious disinformation through the far-reaching tentacles of social media.

Can you ever trust what you see? It’s a disturbing thought.

Emma Watson is the world's most rigged celebrity, closely followed by Scarlett Johansson (above)

Emma Watson is the world’s most rigged celebrity, closely followed by Scarlett Johansson (above)

Deepfakes are fake videos, created using the power of artificial intelligence, in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with the likeness of someone else, making people believe that this that they see is genuine.

The technology is cheap, easy to use and access, and it is difficult to take legal action against a deepfaker.

As with many trends on the Internet, it started with pornography.

Fake celebrity porn has grown into an internet subculture in its own right, with Emma Watson (340 existing videos) the world’s most rigged celebrity, closely followed by Scarlett Johansson.

If you can get anything said or done anywhere, the potential for political or criminal exploitation is immense.

Deepfake AI’s ability to synthesize voice and enable audio impersonation has already been used successfully for financial extortion and blackmail.

Michael Grothaus wrote a readable, thought-provoking, albeit slightly repetitive, warning from the belly of the Internet.

It may focus too much on the celebrity pornographic aspects of deepfaking and only briefly discuss the more positive uses of technology (for example, allowing people with eating disorders to see images of themselves). same in a healthier body), but he interviews shady people. characters and raises interesting questions.

He even orders a deepfake of himself committing a crime, and another in which his father is brought back to life; he is, not surprisingly, uncomfortable with the results.

Be warned and be afraid.

Simon humphreys

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