Throne of Gold: The Lives of the Aga Khans

Anne Edwards, Author William Morrow & Company $25 (0p) ISBN 978-0-688-08838-5
For engrossing gossip about the really rich and famous, here's the scoop on the third-richest man in the world, the late Aga Khan III, descendant of Muhammad and spiritual leader of the Muslim Ismailis from the reign of Victoria to beyond WWII. His fabled wealth derived not from the pursuits of ordinary robber barons but from the generous tributes of his millions of followers. Twice in his lifetime, in a legendary ceremony, they matched his hefty weight with gold. Although he committed much of his wealth to bettering their lives through education, housing and health care, enough remained to support his own fabulous lifestyle, which included wives, mistresses, offspring and champion horses. Sincerely devout, he spent an hour every day in meditation and study of the Koran. He despaired of his playboy son Aly Khan, husband of Rita Hayworth, and he never married or divorced without observing Muslim precepts. A devoted Anglophile, he used his influence to keep the British in India as long as he could. Edwards (Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy) sets this account against the great world events in which his wealth and influence played significant parts. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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