Hannah Rothschild is a writer and director whose documentaries have appeared at film festivals including Telluride and Tribeca. She conceived and directed The Jazz Baroness, a film about her great-aunt and Thelonious Monk, which was broadcast by BBC and HBO in 2009. She has written for British Vanity Fair, Vogue, The Independent and The Spectator. She is vice president of the Hay Literary Festival and trustee of the National Gallery and Waddesdon Manor.
Baroness: The Search for Nica the Rebellious Rothschildby Hannah Rothschild
As a child, Hannah Rothschild never met her great aunt. But she heard the rumors: Nica was the family’s black sheep; she flew Lancaster bombers in the war; she chose not to live with her five children; she shared her house with jazz musicians and 306 cats; she was the subject of no less than twenty jazz standards; she raced Miles Davis down Fifth Avenue;… See more details below
As a child, Hannah Rothschild never met her great aunt. But she heard the rumors: Nica was the family’s black sheep; she flew Lancaster bombers in the war; she chose not to live with her five children; she shared her house with jazz musicians and 306 cats; she was the subject of no less than twenty jazz standards; she raced Miles Davis down Fifth Avenue; the junkie Charlie Parker died in her apartment. There was one thing everyone agreed upon, however: Nica dedicated the last twenty-eight years of her life to one man, the high priest of bebop, pianist Thelonious Monk. She laid her love, her inheritance, and her freedom before his feet like a cloth of devotion.
This book is the result of a twenty-year quest; Hannah Rothschild first met her aunt in 1984, but it was only after Nica’s death that she began to seek the true story behind the outrageous legend. THE BARONESS follows Nica from her childhood home to Paris, to a narrow escape from the Nazis via the battlefields of Africa, to Norway, to Mexico, to a Delaware prison, and finally, to an unimposing house in New Jersey. Using accounts of her antics from her friends Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Clint Eastwood, and others, as well as unseen family archives and unearthed police reports, Rothschild uncovers who Nica was and why she chose the life that she did. In doing so, Rothschild examines her own relationship to her legendary family and its complex legacy, questioning whether we can ever truly escape our pasts.
- Virago Press (UK)
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Well written, truthful, and quite interesting.