"The very rich are different from you and me," said F. Scott Fitzgerald. How different? Well, Ivana Trump so abhors footprints on the carpet that she has the rooms in her home freshly vacuumed before she enters them. Christina Onassis used to have Diet Coke flown to her by private jet. And the elite members of San Francisco's Union Pacific Club needn't worry about handling dirty money, since every coin the enters the institution is scoured by the kitchen staff.
These are just a few of the hilariously outrageous facts and anecdotes that Jon Winokur has assembled in this eye-popping field guide to the habits of the equestrian class. From the schlock of the Nouveau to the stinginess of Old Money, here are the follies and foibles of such plutocrats as William Vanderbilt and Leona Helmsley, Aristotle Onassis and Doris Duke. You'll learn how the super-rich get, conserve and squander their fortunes; how they thwart tax collectors, buy legislative bodies (not to mention entire countries), and literally get away with murder. Here are a few of the most delicious:
* The Sultan of Brunei flew the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to London for his son's ninth birthday party at a cost of $1 million.
* Asked why she was carried everywhere by a burly attendant, Barbara Hutton replied, "Why should I walk when I can hire someone to do it for me?"
* When the late Time Warner boss Steve Ross flew his wife and two other couples to Mexico one Christmas, the trip required two corporate planes: One for people and one for gifts.
* Donald Trump's 727 had 24-karat-gold seat-belt buckles.
* The teenage Doris Duke's limousine was equipped with a panic button she could push whenever a boy tried to kiss her.