What is a philanthropist? Why do they do what they do? What impact do they have? What makes them tick? What in their personal biographies, their communities, their backgrounds, and their moment in time drove them to devote so much time to giving so much money away? Great Philanthropists provides an over-arching view of the development, goals and achievements of philanthropy around the world over the 'long nineteenth century', the period in which organized philanthropy became a global movement. It examines how they make choices about which causes to support, their strategies for doing good and the impact they have had. The studies include men and women like Ei'ichi Shibusawa and Betty de Rothschild, from the USA, the UK, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, and Japan; self-made, of inherited wealth, Jews and Christians, even a monarch, King Edward VII. It is prefaced with an introductory essay by the leading historian of wealth and the wealthy, Professor W.D. Rubinstein, that provides a magisterial overview of the whole phenomenon of 'mega-philanthropy' since the early 19th century and shows how these case studies illuminate the great themes of motivation: faith, fear, hope, humanity and culture. Readable and informative, this collection offers an insight into the minds of the world's richest people and shows how individual acts of charity can change society.
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