The House of Wittgenstein A Family at War by Alexander Waugh

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Synopsis

The Wittgenstein family was one of the richest, most talented and most eccentric in European history. Karl Wittgenstein, who ran away from home as a wayward and rebellious youth, returned to his native Vienna to make a fortune in the iron and steel industries. He bought factories and paintings and palaces, but the domineering and overbearing influence he exerted over his eight children resulted in a generation of siblings fraught by inner antagonisms and nervous tension. Three of his sons committed suicide; Paul, the fourth, became a world-famous concert pianist (using only his left hand), while Ludwig, the youngest, is now regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of the twentieth century. In this dramatic historical and psychological epic, Alexander Waugh traces the triumphs and vicissitudes of a family held together by a fanatical love of music yet torn apart by money, madness, conflicts of loyalty and the cataclysmic upheaval of two world wars. Through the bleak despair of a Siberian prison camp to the terror of a Gestapo interrogation room, one courageous and unlikely hero emerges from the rubble of the house of Wittgenstein in the figure of Paul, an extraordinary testament to the indomitable spirit of human survival.
 

About Alexander Waugh

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Alexander Waugh has been the chief Opera Critic at both the Mail on Sundayand the Evening Standard, and is also a publisher, cartoonist and award-winning composer. He is the author of Fathers and Sons(a history of his literary antecedents), Time and God.He reviews regularly for national newspapers and magazines and has made television programmes for the BBC.
 
Published January 1, 2008 by Doubleday. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs.

Unrated Critic Reviews for The House of Wittgenstein A Family at War

The Guardian

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Paul thought his brother Ludwig's philosophy was "trash", while Ludwig took a dim view of Paul's musical abilities.

Nov 07 2008 | Read Full Review of The House of Wittgenstein A F...

The Wall Street Journal

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"The House of Wittgenstein" By Alexander Waugh Doubleday, 333 pages, $28.95.

Feb 28 2009 | Read Full Review of The House of Wittgenstein A F...

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