Synopses & Reviews
An Economist Best Book of 2007, Jonathan Carrs The Wagner Clan proves, with the sweeping scope of a Wagnerian opera, that the history of Europe and that of the infamous composers family are inextricably intertwined. Carr presents not only Richard Wagner himself musician, philosopher, philanderer, failed revolutionary, and virulent anti-Semitebut also a colorful cast of historical figures who feature in Wagners story: Franz Liszt (whose illegitimate daughter Cosima married Wagner); Friedrich Nietzsche; Arthur Schopenhauer; Richard Strauss; Gustav Mahler; Arturo Toscanini; Joseph Goebbels; Hermann Göring; and the Wolf ” himself, Adolf Hitler, a passionate fan of the Masters music and an adopted uncle to Wagners grandchildren. Wagners British-born daughter-in-law, Winifred, was a close friend of Hitlers and seemed momentarily positioned to marry him after the death of her husband. All through the war the Bayreuth Festival, begun by the Master himself, was supported by Hitler, who had to fill the audience with fighting men and SS officers. After the wars devastation, the festival was dark for a decade until Wagners offspringwith characteristic ambition and cunning revived it. The Wagner Clan is a riveting chronicle of the ascent, decline, and rehabilitation of the German nation and its most infamous family.