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By Robin Lane Fox

Difficult, resolute, fearless, Alexander used to be a born warrior and ruler of passionate ambition who understood the serious experience of conquest and of the unknown. whilst he died in 323 BC elderly thirty-two, his mammoth empire comprised greater than million sq. miles, spanning from Greece to India. His achievements have been remarkable - he had excelled as chief to his males, based eighteen new towns and stamped the face of Greek tradition at the historical East. the parable he created is as effective at the present time because it was once within the historic global. Robin Lane Fox's outstanding account searches during the mass of conflicting facts and legend to target Alexander as a guy of his personal time. Combining historic scholarship and acute mental perception, it brings this monstrous determine vividly to existence.

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As soon as there is no longer majority [decision-making] he can marry himself to a Goldschmidt and say, "I am investing my money wherever I like," and we shall never stop reproaching ourselves. I also believe, dear Lionel, that we two, who are the only ones with influence in Frankfurt, must really aim to restore peace between all [the partners] ... What will happen if we are not careful is that capital amounting to £3 million will fall into the hands of outsiders, instead of being passed on to our children.

This meant that issuing shares or bonds for railway companies was not so very different from issuing government bonds-except that the volatility of railway shares was much greater. To begin with, the Rothschilds sought to play a purely financial role. But they were drawn inevitably into closer involvement by the long lags between a rail company's flotation and the actual opening of its lines, not to mention the payment of dividends on its shares. By the 1840s, Lionel's brothers Anthony and Nat were spending a substantial proportion of their time supervising their uncle jarness French railway interests.

This may have been because the traditional synagogue service had been a masculine affair: there is some evidence that Rothschild women had little or no knowledge of Hebrew. Anthony's wife Louisa, for example, shared the Reform movement's aspiration to modernise Jewish forms of worship precisely because synagogue services compared unfavourably with church services. "What a pity one cannot go to church and hear a good sermon," she exclaimed in 1847, frustrated by her inability to understand Hebrew.

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