THE VERY RICH BOOK: America's Supermillionaires and Their Money--Where They Got It, How They Spend It by Jacqueline Thompson

THE VERY RICH BOOK: America's Supermillionaires and Their Money--Where They Got It, How They Spend It

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paltry stuff, and tacky too. Lists of the very rich ($50 million and up), split into the inheritors and the self-made tycoons. A catalogue of what heirs and heiresses do whey they grow up--i.e., the business successes and failures, the ""culture vultures,"" the ""easy-street eccentrics,"" the ""rich recluses,"" the ""millionaire midfits."" Eleven (familiar) rules for ""making a mint""; three cases of grooving on a gimmick; ""Four Typical life-styles of a Strike-it-rich Capitalist."" A few stuffy pages--quotes from psychologists, findings of a survey--on money and sexual performance. Two-hundred-some pages listing the domiciles and vacation spots of the rich, their schools, pets, ""silliest parties,"" and pet philanthropies: plus their griefs--from white elephants to burglaries to kidnappings to tax wrangles. And it's here that this frivolous enterprise, always a little nasty, turns plain irresponsible. One of the relatively few of the very rich who talked to Thompson, the late John D. MacArthur, replied to a question about kidnapping by saying that he wasn't worried about himself, only about his grandchildren. ""'You mustn't print that,' Mrs. MacArthur interrupted. 'It may give someone ideas.'"" So here it is--along with a ""Robber Roster"": who got what, where, when, and how. A few thumbers-through may be surprised to learn that none of the ten richest of the rich is named Rockefeller; the book's most piquant remark, from one of Thompson's quarry, is ""Are you sure this whole project isn't just a way to find a rich husband?"" Overall, though, it's both flat and stale--everyday tabloid fodder recycled, everyone else's opinings on the rich rearranged. Faced with all this scavenging, a person might even take comfort in being impecunious.

Pub Date: Jan. 28th, 1980
Publisher: Morrow