Not quite as resplendent as the Rothschilds, the Warburgs were nevertheless one of those amazing pan-European Jewish families who for generations succeeded at everything they tried. Farrer traces their genealogy back to Simon von Cassel, a ""money changer"" who settled in the small town of Warburg in Westphalia in the 16th century. From there, via Altona, the family migrated to Hamburg, where the firm of M.M. Warburg, founded in 1798, became one of the top merchant banks in Germany. By this time the Warburgs were in fact a dynasty, with collateral branches, but Farrer concentrates on the ""Famous Five"" -- Aby, Max, Paul, Felix and Fritz -- the sons of Moritz and Charlotte Warburg who, among them, managed a vast financial empire in Germany and the U.S. Each man became eminent in his own right, though Aby, the eldest, disappointed his parents by abandoning banking for art history -- he is responsible for what was to become the Warburg Institute, now a part of the University of London. Felix and Paul went to America where the former married Jacob Schiff's daughter and was active in Jewish philanthropy, while the latter was instrumental in the creation of the Federal Reserve Board. Max, who with Fritz headed the family bank in Hamburg, was an ardent German patriot, one of those who believed that it couldn't happen to him when Hitler appeared on the horizon. When, in 1938, he was forced to sail for America, he was still disbelieving and heartbroken. Farrer lightly passes over a score of other cousins and nephews including Otto, a Nobel Prize-winner, several distinguished musicians, and Fredric, the publisher of London's Secker & Warburg, whose memoirs recently appeared here. Though Farrer evidently admires the lot of them, this collective biography seems rushed and summary.