Goldsmith: Money, Women and Power by Chris Hutchins
This biography tells the story of an extraordinary family. Few businessmen in modern times have succeeded in generating such vast riches as Sir James Goldsmith. From winning a huge sum on a bet at Windsor races while still a schoolboy at Eton, he went on to build a personal fortune of more than a billion pounds through a series of audacious takeover deals in both Europe and the United states. That alone would be enough to guarantee his place as a prominent public figure. But the saga of the Goldsmiths does not end there. Goldsmith was a struggling entrepreneur of just 20 when he eloped with the teenage daughter of a Bolivian multimillionaire. Their dash to Scotland made headlines around the world but the marriage born of such heroic rebellion was to be shortlived. Months later, his bride, Isabel Patino, died within hours of their daughter's birth and, within weeks, Goldsmith was plunged into a bitter custody battle with his mother-in-law. To sublimate his grief, Goldsmith threw himself into his business and within years had laid the foundation of his first fortune. In the process he married his secretary, the daughter of a Paris Metro worker, who soon found herself supplanted by one of Britain's foremost noblewomen, the former Lady Annabel Vane-Tempest-Stewart, a close confidante of Princess Diana. The man whose private life had taken on mythic status did not stop there and his mistress was French aristocrat Laure Boulay de la Meurthe. Of his eight children, his daughter Jemima has already found a place on the international stage following her marriage to the former Pakistani cricket captain, Imran Khan, who hopes one day to lead his country. Sir James had a string of fabulous homes scattered around the world and to shuttle between them he maintained a fleet of three aircraft. Naturally, his entry into politics was conducted on a similarly grand scale. In the run-up to the 1997 general election, he ploughed 20 million into his Eurosceptic Referendum Party in a bid to stamp his will on the government of the day.