Much of the material isn’t new, but it’s put together with wisdom. Carr demonstrates how much of what we assume to be Wagner's views were in fact created by Cosima and others. Like The Master himself, Cosima was rootless, in denial of her own past, “more Catholic than the Pope”. Significantly the Wagner Idea attracted others similarly alienated – Houston Chamberlain and his curious assumed persona, Hitler the outsider with a monumental chip on his shoulder. Poor orphaned Winifred was doomed from birth, one feels, given that she too was rootless, raised by fanatics, as if genetically engineered to serve the "Wagnerian" image. Wagner’s image takes on projections that aren’t necessarily in his music, which is perhaps why it's so dangerously potent.
Given Carr’s special expertise in postwar
Carr’s distinctive, warm hearted style and intelligence earn this book a special place even among the many volumes already written about the Wagners and