“Jonathan Carr’s history is formidable and, fortunately for readers, he has not been discouraged by the essentially disagreeable nature of this sprawling saga. . . . What emerges from Mr. Carr’s compendious and enthralling story is that narrow family interests remain more important than artistic aspiration in Bayreuth.” The Economist (UK)
The Wagner Clan
The Saga of Germany's Most Illustrious and Infamous Family
978-0-8021-4399-0 • $16.95 • Paperback • Jan. 2009
“One need not be a devotee of Wagner’s music to appreciate Mr. Carr’s riveting account.” John M. and Priscilla S. Taylor, The Washington Times
An Economist Best Book of 2007, Jonathan Carr’s The Wagner Clan was roundly acclaimed upon its publication in hardcover. Hailed as “fiendishly enjoyable” by Salon.com and “masterly” and “enthralling” by The Daily Telegraph, it proves that the history of Europe and that of the Wagners are inextricably intertwined. Carr presents not only Richard Wagner himself composer, philosopher, philanderer, failed revolutionary, and virulent anti- Semitebut also a colorful cast of historical figures who feature in Wagner’s story: Franz Liszt (whose illegitimate daughter Cosima married Wagner); the “mad King” Ludwig II, who saved Wagner from penury by becoming his sponsor; 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 Master’s music and an adopted uncle to Wagner’s grandchildren. Wagner’s British-born daughter-in-law, Winifred, was a close friend of Hitler’s 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 war’s devastation, the festival was dark for a decade until Wagner’s offspringwith characteristic ambition and cunning revived it. With the sweeping scope of a Wagnerian opera, The Wagner Clan is a riveting chronicle of the ascent, decline, and rehabilitation of the German nation and its most infamous family.