The Whims of Fortune, Signed by Guy de Rothschild
[Signed by Guy de Rothschild] Rothschild, Guy de. The Whims of Fortune. First English Edition. 1985. Book and dust jacket are both in very good condition. This copy is signed “Guy de Rothschild, Good Luck!” Laid in is a Foyle’s Literary Club program commemorating a luncheon in honor of Guy de Rothschild to celebrate this book’s publication. This copy belonged to Mr. Roger Walden, and he is among the guests listed in the program.
It is true that we are fascinated by the rich, and not always for a valid reason. Sadly some live banal, purposeless lives of interest only by how they misuse or squander their wealth. Not so the case with Baron Guy de Rothschild, a scion of the French branch of the Jewish banking family. His early adulthood years coincided with the rise of Nazi Germany, and with the fall of France, there is a Gone with the Wind quality to his story—one that ultimately ends satisfactorily for him but tragically for members of his extended family. He relates that story movingly in this book, as he processes what it means to be wealthy and powerful, along with the social and moral duties that accompany such a position. Also included in the book is a loving but nuanced portrait of his wife, Marie-Hélène, “the Queen of Paris.” There is also a comical account of the thwarted kidnapping of one of his sons that ended with the Baron and the kidnapper exchanging Christmas cards (it is as if Peter Sellers interpreted Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment).
“If I have drawn from my stream of memories these anecdotes and details that seem to smack of snobbery, it is, needless to say, without the slightest intention of impressing anybody. On the contrary, what still astonishes me today is how perfectly natural all these things seemed, as if God on the seventh day had created the world in the image of my childhood universe, as if children everywhere lived in châteaux with countless rooms and hosts of servants solely occupied in satisfying their masters’ every desire.”
--Guy de Rothschild