The Memory of All That by Katharine Weber

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The Memory of All That is Katharine Weber’s memoir of her extraordinary family. 

Her maternal grandmother, Kay Swift, was known both for her own music (she was the first woman to compose the score to a hit Broadway show, Fine and Dandy) and for her ten-year romance with George Gershwin. Their love affair began during Swift’s marriage to James Paul Warburg, the multitalented banker and economist who advised (and feuded with) FDR. Weber creates an intriguing and intimate group portrait of the renowned Warburg family, from her great-great-uncle, the eccentric art historian Aby Warburg, whose madness inspired modern theories of iconography, to her great-grandfather Paul M. Warburg, the architect of the Federal Reserve System whose unheeded warnings about the stock-market crash of 1929 made him “the Cassandra of Wall Street.” 

Her mother, Andrea Swift Warburg, married Sidney Kaufman, but their unlikely union, Weber believes, was a direct consequence of George Gershwin’s looming presence in the Warburg family. A notorious womanizer, Weber’s father was a peripatetic filmmaker who made propaganda and training films for the OSS during World War II before producing the first movie with smells, the regrettable flop that was AromaRama. He was as much an enigma to his daughter as he was to the FBI, which had him under surveillance for more than forty years, and even noted Katharine’s birth in a memo to J. Edgar Hoover.

Colorful, evocative, insightful, and very funny, The Memory of All That is an enthralling look at a tremendously influential—and highly eccentric—family, as well as a consideration of how their stories, with their myriad layers of truth and fiction, have both provoked and influenced one of our most prodigiously gifted writers.

About Katharine Weber

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Katharine Weber is the author of the novels True Confections, Triangle, The Little Women, The Music Lesson, and Objects in Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, the cultural historian Nicholas Fox Weber.
Published July 19, 2011 by Crown. 290 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Memory of All That

Publishers Weekly

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Novelist Weber (Triangle) here paints a wry and engaging portrait of a powerful, talented, but troubled family. She relays memories of her father, Sidney Kaufman, a self-mythologizing filmmaker, and A

May 23 2011 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

The New York Times

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The novelist Katharine Weber brings many famous and glamorous names to her memoir, including that of her grandmother’s lover, George Gershwin.

Jul 25 2011 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

Dallas News

But for an offbeat introduction to the powerful clan, read Katharine Weber, who wrote on her blog to an anxious family member: “Perhaps you wouldn’t lie awake nights wondering if my forthcoming family memoir has ‘all those bad things’ in it if you hadn’t done all those bad things in your long, lo...

Jul 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

City Book Review

Weber is a master storyteller, and though Memory does not exactly follow a narrative arc, Weber’s skillful weaving of childhood memories, family history, and more recent and personal life events pulls readers along, across generations, as her high-profile family tree takes on surprising life.

Nov 02 2011 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

Bookmarks Magazine

By jonSun, 07/17/2011 - 21:40.

Jul 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

The narrative is not necessarily chronological or linear, and it contains frequent insertions in the first person, so a reader looking for a purely biographical account of the lives of Kay Swift or George Gershwin may want to look elsewhere, however, a reader who would like to get a sense of what...

Feb 19 2012 | Read Full Review of The Memory of All That

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