This groundbreaking history explains how Nathan Mayer Rothschild rose from comparatively humble circumstances to become the founder of an extraordinary banking and financial empire-an empire that remained preeminent in Europe for more than a century. The book focuses on the critical years of Great Britain's war against Napoleon, when Rothschild became in effect Britain's banker and paymaster on the Continent, contributing to Wellington's defeat of Napoleon and consolidating the basis of the Rothschild financial dynasty. Although the basic outline of Rothschild's remarkable rise in the world of European high finance is well kwn, the details of how this actually took place, at the transaction-by-transaction level, have never before been studied. On the basis of painstaking archival examination of all of Rothschild's extant financial records, Kaplan is able to explain for the first time exactly how this transformation occurred.
Herbert H. Kaplan is Professor Emeritus of History at Indiana University.