The first full-length biography of Whitaker Wright was published by Biteback Publishing on 12 June 2018. It is available in hardback (356 pages) and in electronic form.Please order your copy here
During a long Fleet Street career, Henry Macrory was deputy editor and acting editor of the Sunday Express. For several years he was a Westminster-based political correspondent. He moved from newspapers into political communications and worked in 10 Downing Street for the Coalition Government. He now lives in Oxford and specialises in writing family histories.
Praise for Ultimate Folly
An unstoppably entertaining story of one of the most outrageous conmen the world has ever seen...its depiction of hysterical booms and busts suggests all kinds of contemporary parallels.
Christopher Hart, Sunday Times
Whitaker Wright was one of the great characters of the Victorian age — Methodist minister, businessman, swindler and symbol of excess — whose life inspired some of H G Wells’ finest books. Henry Macrory has found a glorious subject and tells Wright’s extraordinary story in vivid, exciting prose that makes his book a tremendous pleasure to read.
Dominic Sandbrook, author, historian and TV presenter
One of my reads of the year. Absolutely superb. Henry Macrory’s impeccably researched and brilliantly told account of Whitaker Wright’s extraordinary life is a page-turner from start to finish.
George Osborne, editor, London Evening Standard
A fascinating story about an extraordinary man — grippingly told.
Penny Junor, biographer of Prince Charles, Prince William and Margaret Thatcher
The forgotten story of an extraordinary man, a roguish hustler with a genius for self-reinvention who for a time was the richest man in Britain. The book has been diligently researched and the narrative, with its dramatic last twist, is highly entertaining.
Blake Morrison, award-winning novelist and biographer
This is compelling and revelatory stuff. Henry Macrory reminds us, with commendable power and restraint, that truth really is stranger than fiction. The story of Whitaker Wright has movie written all over it.
Jonathan Mantle, bestselling biographer of Jeffrey Archer and Andrew Lloyd Webber
A wonderful book.
Jason Beattie, Daily Mirror
A biography that reads like a thriller — the roaring life of the world's greatest ever fraudster. This MUST become a movie!
Gwyn Headley, architectural historian and author of National Trust Book of Follies
Having been intrigued by the life of Whitaker Wright for many years, I'm delighted to be able to recommend Ultimate Folly. Henry Macrory has written a gripping biography which highlights the extreme wealth and ultimate tragedy of a fascinating nineteenth century swindler.
Salema Nazzal, author of The Folly Under the Lake
Rattling good stuff — the best biography I’ve read in a long time. Henry Macrory has the gift of a natural storyteller.
Tim Satchell, best-selling biographer of Steve McQueen and Fred Astaire
This guy pulled off some of the most brilliant scams in history. This is a great story of an extraordinary life. What are you waiting for?
Andy McNab, best-selling novelist and former SAS sergeant
Henry Macrory recounts with consummate panache the gripping story of one Britain's most remarkable folly builders.
Jonathan Holt, editor of Follies magazine
Ultimate Folly is a fascinating account of a truly extraordinary man…would that my grandfather-in-law, Sir James Reid, had never set eyes on Whitaker Wright!
Michaela Reid, biographer of Queen Victoria’s personal physician, Sir James Reid
A tour de force of rip-roaring adventure, treachery and double dealing. Henry Macrory’s compelling tale of this larger-than-life swindler is an absolute joy to read.
Michael Toner, novelist and playwright
Whitaker Wright led one of the most extraordinary lives of the late Victorian era. Ultimate Folly is the biography of a great adventurer, compellingly told.
Mark Fox, Chief Exectutive of the Business Services Association
Henry Macrory resurrects Wright's astonishing story in forensic detail, with verve and panache.
Stephen Bates, Literary Review
Strongly recommend you read Ultimate Folly, Henry Macrory's gripping biography of maverick financier Whitaker Wright.
I'm delighted that the full story of my great-great uncle’s fascinating life has been told at last. Henry Macrory’s Ultimate Folly brims with adventure and skulduggery and kept me riveted throughout.
Where to start! This is probably the best and most enjoyable book I’ve worked on this year -– a fast-paced, incredibly clear and well-narrated account of an incredibly interesting man and his oft-outrageous life. There is never a dull moment.
Victoria Godden, Ultimate Folly’s copy editor
Henry Macrory's compelling account reads like a thriller and offers an insight into the mind of the ultimate gambler and conman.