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Book Review, by Lucinda Baring

“Philip Beresford, the author of the Sunday Times annual Rich List, has combined forces with historian William D. Rubinstein to find the wealthiest people in British history. The list is dominated by wealth from Norman times – with four of the top six fortunes coming from the Norman Conquest – reflecting the huge rewards handed out by William the Conqueror to his allies. The richest person of the last millennium is Alan Rufus, a Norman Lord whose land and estates in modern terms would be worth over £81 billion, making him more than four times richer than Lakshmi Mittal, the richest living list member with a fortune of £19 billion. Such was the wealth of early and mediaeval figures that only 18 of Britainâ??s current billionaires make the top 250. This fun little compendium is full of interesting lists, too, such as the 30 most violent deaths amongst the rich list and the 40 richest Americans of all time. A particular gem is the 12 rich-list members who died in prison or as a result of long imprisonment.”

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