The Reading List: Dynasties By Will Dean

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The Independent Culture


The Man Who Owns The News by Michael Wolff, Bodley Head, £20

Wolff's biography of Rupert Murdoch – written using 50 hours of taped interviews with the News Corp chairman – may be a profile of the main player in the dynasty, but Rupert's rise (and now possible fall) is interwoven with his family. Wolff tells his story from inheriting the family business from father Sir Keith to his continuing (and how!) struggle to anoint an heir.


Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family by Alexander Waugh, Headline Review, £9.99

Britain's pre-eminent literary dynasty has been touched on in other books, from tales of life as a child in Evelyn's Combe Florey House, in Auberon's memoir Will This Do? to Evelyn's diaries and letters. Here Auberon's son Alexander tells the engrossing story of the male Waughs from paterfamilias Arthur (Evelyn's dad) to his own father via Evelyn and gread-uncle Alec.


The Kennedy Family Album: Personal Photos of America's First Family by Linda Corley (Author), Bob Davidoff (Photographer), Avalon £17.99

The late Ted Kennedy introduces this personal photographic account of the closest thing America has had to a royal family. Davidoff, the "court photographer of the Camelot years" offers family album-style shots of the Kennedy crew from Joseph and Rose to John and Jackie's young family.


The Godfather by Mario Puzo, Arrow, £7.99

Forget the John and Bobby K, America's most famous dynasty is the Corleones. Puzo's first bestseller covers the story from father Vito's decline to son Michael's rise. Extra family history comes from literary sequels such as The Sicilian, and the original screenplays of the Godfather movie sequels. Puzo co-wrote those with Francis Ford Coppola – whose own dynasty now reaches across Hollywood.


Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family by Sophie Freud, Praeger, £19.95

The Freuds, from Sigmund to Matthew, via Lucian, Esther and Clement, have played huge roles in British society from politics to arts and public relations. This 2007 memoir is removed from the main Freud family branch, focusing both on Sophie's mother Esti Drucker, who married Sigmund's son Jean-Martin and on Sophie's remarkable escape from wartime France.