William Rubinstein

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William D. Rubinstein (born August 12, 1946) is a historian and author. His best-known work, Men of Property: The Very Wealthy in Britain Since the Industrial Revolution, charts the rise of the 'super rich', a class he sees as expanding exponentially.

Early life

Rubinstein was born in New York, and educated at Swarthmore College and Johns Hopkins University in the United States.


Rubinstein worked at Lancaster University in England from 1974 to 1975, the Australian National University in Canberra in 1976–1978, Deakin University in Victoria, Australia from 1978 to 1995, and currently works at Aberystwyth University.

Rubinstein has held chairs of history at Deakin and Aberystwyth Universities, and is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences, and of the Royal Historical Society.

Rubinstein was President of the Jewish Historical Society of England from 2002 to 2004 and was the editor of the articles on Britain and the Commonwealth (except Canada) in the second (2006) edition of the standard reference work, The Encyclopaedia Judaica.

Career as author

Rubinstein is known for his research on the wealth-holding classes in modern Britain, making use of probate and other taxation records, in such works as Men of Property: The Very Wealthy in Britain Since the Industrial Revolution (1981) and Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain, 1750–1990 (1991). More recently he has co-authored (with Philip Beresford) The Richest of the Rich (2007), an account of the 250 richest-ever people in British history since the Norman Conquest.[1]

Rubinstein is published in such works as A History of the Jews in the English-Speaking World: Great Britain (1996) and in a well-known controversial work, The Myth of Rescue (1997), which argues that the allies could not have saved more Jews during the Holocaust. Holocaust historian David Cesarani called The Myth of Rescue "a polemic that will quickly fade, while the monumental scholarship it seeks to denigrate will still be consulted by historians and students for years to come."[2] Rubinstein in return called Cesarani's views of the subject "totally lacking in historical balance or context".[3]

He has also published widely on Australian Jewish history.[citation needed]

Rubinstein also researches unconventional history, and topics discussed by amateur historians but ignored by academics. His Shadow Pasts (2007) examines such topics as the assassination of President Kennedy, Jack the Ripper, and the Shakespeare authorship question. He also explored the topic of who wrote Shakespeare’s works in a book he co-authored with Brenda James, The Truth Will Out (2005), which hypothesizes that Sir Henry Neville (c.1562-1615), an Elizabethan Member of Parliament and Ambassador to France, was the real author of Shakespeare’s works.


  • The Biographical Dictionary of Life Peers
  • The Myth Of Rescue
  • Genocide: A History
  • Britain's Century: A Social and Political History, 1815-1905 (The Arnold History of Britain)
  • Men of Property: The Very Wealthy in Britain Since the Industrial Revolution
  • Capitalism, Culture and Decline in Britain, 1750–1990
  • A History of the Jews in the English Speaking World: Great Britain (Studies in Modern History)
  • Menders of the Mind: A History of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists 1946-1996 (co-author)
  • Philosemitism: Admiration and Support in the English-speaking world for Jews, 1840-1939 (co-author)
  • The Jews in the Modern World Since 1750 (co-author)
  • Shadow Pasts (co-author)
  • The Richest of the Rich (co-author)
  • Israel, the Jews and the West: The Fall and Rise of Antisemitism
  • The Left, the Right and the Jews, Croom Helm, London (1982)
  • The End of Ideology and the Rise of Religion: How Marxism and Other Secular Universalistic Ideologies Have Given Way to Religious Fundamentalism
  • Who Were the Rich?: 1809 - 1839 v. 1: A Biographical Directory of British Wealth-holders


  1. "Richest man in British history was a soldier". Reuters. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Cesarani, David (1998). "Book review: The Myth of Rescue. Why the Democracies could not have saved more Jews from the Nazis". English Historical Review. 113 (454): 1258–1260. doi:10.1093/ehr/113.454.1258.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. William D. Rubinstein (1 Sep 1999). "Britain and the Holocaust: A critique". History Review (34).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>