Walter Rothschild

The man, the museum and the menagerie

Miriam Rothschild

This compelling biography reveals the extraordinary life of Walter Rothschild – the best known zoologist of his day and one of Britain’s great eccentrics.

ISBN:
978 0 565 09228 3
Format:
Paperback
Price:
£9.99
Published:
February 2008
Size:
206 x 135 mm
Extent:
432 pp
Illustrations:
32 pages of black-and-white photographs
Publisher:
Natural History Museum

Details

Born into what was one of the wealthiest families in the world, Walter Rothschild amassed the largest single accumulation of zoological specimens ever collected by one person. Walter’s life traversed the fields of politics and finance as well as zoology and was packed with both achievements and incident.

From his involvement with the Balfour Declaration to his prodigious personal scientific output, Walter's life was anything but commonplace. He established his own private Museum in 1892, now the Natural History Museum at Tring, drove a team of zebra down Piccadilly and into the forecourt of Buckingham Palace, and was a victim of blackmail for many years.

With the help of evocative photographs, Miriam Rothschild has produced an absorbing narrative which reveals the complexities and conflicts this remarkable man faced during his life.

The book was originally published in hardback under the title Dear Lord Rothschild: Birds, Butterflies and History.

See inside

Look inside this book to get an idea of its content.

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Pages from Walter Rothschild: The Man, the Museum and the Menagerie

Author

Miriam Rothschild was the niece of Walter Rothschild and, a renowned naturalist herself, shared her uncle’s passion for the natural world. 

In 1995 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and was made a Dame in 2000. Dame Miriam died in 2005.

Reviews

Find out what others think of this book.

"Extraordinary biography"

The Times Magazine

"…and the science story here – of her uncle’s incomparable collection at Tring, of his curators, field collectors, squabbles and triumphs – is sophisticated and valuable."

The Times Literary Supplement

"His life, work and family are honestly and affectionately documented by his niece."

Nature: International Journal of Science

"His niece Miriam unravels the complex life of her uncle in a portrait that is both affectionate and judicious."

Good Book Guide

"From the first sentence the reader is thrust into an immensely detailed portrayal of the upbringing and lifestyle Walter had…the writer tends to wander from one point to another but her relaxed and sometimes cheeky style is endearing."

The Field Magazine

"She (the author) reveals a man who was both madcap maverick – someone almost too improbably eccentric for non-fiction – as well as being a vital ecological pioneer…Here is a robust defence of the idea that the unquenchable pursuit of knowledge is every bit as valuable a life’s work as the amassing of millions."

Jewish Chronicle

"This new edition of her (the author) 1983 book is very welcome. It’s is no dry description of an interesting specimen, but a fascinating account of a career, much of which was 'a series of flying leaps from one sort of frying pan into yet another fire – whether the conflagration concerned hunting, politics or women.'"

Country Life Magazine

"Walter’s extraordinary life and enormously significant contribution to science is recorded in great and entertaining detail."

Country Landowner & Rural Business

"It is painstakingly researched, charting the course of a long life, almost entirely dedicated to the study of nature…a fascinating tale, and with 385 pages and some great photographs, all for under a tenner, it’s also value for money."

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