I was totally gripped by this book. There is the madness of the Wagner family coupled with a different sort of madness displayed by Adolf Hitler. It’s all played out in the curiously domestic setting of pre-war Bayreuth, where it is impossible to put on an opera without a Jewish orchestra, in spite of Hitler’s henchmen. Opera fanatics will love it and so will the imaginative historian.
I have emphasised more than once that the Wolf we all came to know at Wahnfried was a private family person. Indeed, when I have meditated up on it I have sometimes wondered whether Winnie offered Wolf something he never had anywhere else: a family life where his sad past, his struggles, and his political world did not intrude. Complicated as Winnie's relationship with Fidi may have been, it was always able to be maintained with a level of normal good humour or normal bad temper as normal family life might be. Strange as it must have seemed to many and distressing as she found his forays in the direction of boys, the central fact of their lives together was that they were parents; in their fashion they were both extremely good and affectionate parents, and it was into this well of parental love that Uncle Wolf could dip his needy bucket.