I had myself on the waitlist for the book Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall if an American Dynasty by
Nieve me didn’t realize that the Vanderbilts that helped build the railroads and shipping to their heights was the same family that produced Gloria Vanderbilt…or for that matter, Anderson Cooper.
I’m not a gal that thrives on knowing the rich, keeping up with their relationships and the who’s who of it all so for me the book was really interesting…and amazingly sad. So sad.
It always amazes me that a family can build and be so successful in business but fail so miserably in relationships.
I also appreciated the time span this book portrays from well before the Civil War to the present day. I think we all know our parents or great grandparents lived through the depression but what did that mean in the lives they lived. I appreciated seeing how history played a part in the Vanderbilt family.
Here is what Amazon had to say:
“When eleven-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the nineteenth century, no one could have imagined that one day he would, through ruthlessness, cunning, and a pathological desire for money, build two empires—one in shipping and another in railroads—that would make him the richest man in America. His staggering fortune was fought over by his heirs after his death in 1877, sowing familial discord that would never fully heal. Though his son Billy doubled the money left by “the Commodore,” subsequent generations competed to find new and ever more extraordinary ways of spending it. By 2018, when the last Vanderbilt was forced out of The Breakers—the seventy-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’s grandson and namesake had built—the family would have been unrecognizable to the tycoon who started it all.
Now, the Commodore’s great-great-great-grandson Anderson Cooper joins with historian Katherine Howe to explore the story of his legendary family and their outsized influence. Cooper and Howe breathe life into the ancestors who built the family’s empire, basked in the Commodore’s wealth, hosted lavish galas, and became synonymous with unfettered American capitalism and high society. Moving from the hardscrabble wharves of old Manhattan to the lavish drawing rooms of Gilded Age Fifth Avenue, from the ornate summer palaces of Newport to the courts of Europe, and all the way to modern-day New York, Cooper, and Howe wryly recount the triumphs and tragedies of an American dynasty unlike any other.
Written with a unique insider’s viewpoint, this is a rollicking, quintessentially American history as remarkable as the family it so vividly captures.”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.4 stars. I think I’ll have to agree. I really did like it…although, as I said, so sad to see the failed relationships, again, again and again. My mom grew up in a family that often threatened to disinherit and was not a healthy family at all. Reading this book made me ever more thankful that my mom didn’t continue that into our family.
If you ever wore the jeans, dreamed about the gilded age, watched Anderson Cooper, or appreciated the rise of industrial America, this might be a book that you’d also enjoy.
You can find the book HERE on Amazon.