Cover ultimate folly

Beginning his career as an impoverished northern preacher, Wright fled across the Atlantic to prospect for gold and silver, braving a hard life and surviving a Native American massacre, before becoming rich by floating silver mines on the stock market. When the bubble burst, he fled angry investors and returned to England to start again. This time Australian gold was his route to wealth, and within five years he was one of the world’s richest men.

At his 10,000-acre estate in Surrey he employed seventy-seven personal staff, moved a hill that blocked his view and built an underwater glass smoking room. On his vast steam yacht he entertained the Prince of Wales and the Kaiser.

 His downfall was as dramatic as his ascent. On the last trading day of the nineteenth century, his financial empire – which he had propped up by cooking the books – went belly up. With the police in hot pursuit, he fled to New York with his pretty young niece, but was arrested and brought back to England. At the end of what the press dubbed ‘the most dramatic trial of modern times’ he was sentenced to seven years in jail. But he had one last dreadful surprise to spring.

Other great swindlers have followed in Wright’s footsteps, but for daring and shamelessness none have surpassed him. Drawing on family papers, private memoirs and archives around the world, this compelling account of Wright’s life reads like a thriller and offers an insight into the mind of the ultimate gambler and conman.

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  • Hardback, 356 pages
  • ISBN: 9781785903786
  • 21 June 2018
    Available to pre-order
  • £20.00

  • eBook
  • ISBN: 9781785903922
  • 21 June 2018
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  • £16.99

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