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Wagner's granddaughter writing of her family and their life would provide interesting enough personal history, but when she combines that with the story of the family's relationship with Hitler, and the Nazi party, the interest is doubled. Here is the world of home, consecrated to the tradition of her famous grandfather, and later to her Mother's early aspousal of Hitler. The author, at odds with the man's personality, became the family rebel. She and her brothers and sisters lived in a world of opera and musicians, harbored and helped Hitler, but her escape to an English school deepened need for independence. Hitler's manipulation of all the arts when he came in power had little effect on the Wagners because of her mother's continued devotion to him, but the parade of excaping artists grew and there were bitter quarrels over the anti-Jewish program with Mother and the children interceding for their friends. Hitler was used too when the children wanted help in opposing Mother's plans. Finally, with help from Town, ""Ma"" escaped her family, and country, even to a last bitter quarrel with her Mother. Triple thread -- of the Wagner musical heritage, family, and intimacy with Nazi officialdom -- produce an autobiography that has more than a little interest for any kind of reader, and that, in its looking backwards, mirrors a maturation subjected to many influences.

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 1945
Publisher: Harper