This chronicle of renowned composer Richard Wagner and his descendants features “a cast of characters who are positively operatic in their histrionics” (The Guardian).
Richard Wagner was many things—composer, philosopher, philanderer, failed revolutionary, and virulent anti-Semite—and his descendants have carried on his complex legacy.
In his “lively and wry” history of the legendary composer and his family, biographer Jonathan Carr also offers fascinating glimpses of Franz Liszt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, Arturo Toscanini, Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, and Adolf Hitler—a passionate fan of the Master’s music and an adopted uncle to Wagner’s grandchildren (The New York Times).
Stretching from the revolutions of 1848 to the darkest days of World War II and through to the present incarnation of Wagner’s Bayreuth Festival, The Wagner Clan is “a smart, insightful look into German history” and a family whose saga is as gripping as any opera (New York Post).
“Jonathan Carr’s history is formidable . . . [A] compendious and enthralling story.” —The Economist
“The grandiose life of Richard Wagner—the pronouncements on art and the German soul, the petty groveling for money and favors, the intermittently atrocious politics and intermittently glorious music—was a tough act to follow. Carr . . . follows Wagner’s descendants through three generations as they fight each other for control of the Bayreuth Festival and, at opportune times, embrace, reject or sweep under the rug their forebear’s status as Nazism’s spiritual godfather. . . . Carr’s sprightly, fluent narrative places the family in its historical and intellectual context without reducing it to the symbolic effigy it has often become.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review