Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Baroness

The Baroness – Hannah Rothschild
This is the biography of a woman. It is also the biography of a family and the world that created them. Hannah Rothschild was always interested in the things her esteemed family wouldn’t talk about- her aunt Nica (Pannonica) Rothschild. This was a woman who lived her life to the beat of a different drum, known as the Baroness of Jazz, she spend the latter part of her life consumed by the Jazz scene of the 50’s and 60’s, rejecting the world of wealth and privelidge to spend her time with the struggling musicians who so enthralled her.
Hannah Rothschild has spent her life documenting those of others via film. Her passion to discover the life of her aunt has led her to write this biography in a way that only a family member can. The Rothschilds are renound for their secrecy and as this book continues the reader sees the lengths that Hannah needed to go to in order to create anything at all. She follows the story of her family from their squalid beginnings in Juddengasse (or Jews-Alley) to their indespensibility amongst the powers of Europe due to their dominant banks. This was a well written, fascinating peek into the world that created Nica and her rebellious life thereafter. A life that enveloped the developing Jazz scene in the USA and the extremely taunt race relations therein, in particular her defining relationship with Thelonius Monk who was considered one of the giants of the scene.

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