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Vanderbilt cover art

Vanderbilt

By: Anderson Cooper, Katherine Howe
Narrated by: Anderson Cooper
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Summary

New York Times best-selling author and journalist Anderson Cooper teams with New York Times best-selling historian and novelist Katherine Howe to chronicle the rise and fall of a legendary American dynasty - his mother’s family, the Vanderbilts.

When 11-year-old Cornelius Vanderbilt began to work on his father’s small boat ferrying supplies in New York Harbor at the beginning of the 19th 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 70-room summer estate in Newport, Rhode Island, that Cornelius’ 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.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

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A Fascinating book... but mistitled

I was fascinated by this book but it is really about the fall of the Vanderbilts and the impact on the author. it left me wanting to know detail about how the money was raised and to know more about the lives of the early family members.

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Gloria

Very interesting. Only ever saw Anderson on CNN. Now I can see the shadows of the people behind him. His involvement with his mothers care in later years resonates with me as it reflects our family’s experience although any challenges we dealt with were lightened immeasurably because there are seven of us. When encountering the various people in the book I was never sure whether I liked them, disliked them, admired them, was shocked by them or that I’d just like to slap them. All human emotions represented. My Dad would say ‘ah but they all had to wear the wooden waistcoat in the end’. Just like us. Catherine Byrne

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Absolutely facinating

I knew a little of the fascinating Vandebilt family. Obviously, this was merely a superficial knowledge. This audio presentation ensured I learned more. Beautifully written and very well narrated. Thank you to all those who produced such a rich archive.

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Fascinating

I’m neither American nor a Vanderbilt but I was utterly engrossed in this book from start to finish.

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Brilliant

What an excellent book..a different view , one from the inside looking out … so much money just slipped through their fingers… it’s astounding so little of all this wealth remains.. so little to show for it but for words on the pages of history books of the USA .

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A thorough and engaging history

An excellent and thorough history of the Vanderbilts and the social circle surrounding them. I particularly enjoyed chapter 12 and its more personal touch with Anderson talking about his relationship with his mother.

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fantastic overview of a point of history

fantastic overview of a point of history.
i wanted more about Anderson cooper himself as i find him fascinating.. but it? as concise and told with integrity

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Women

Strong fascinating women make this book wonderful. Vanderbilt men seemed weak to me. Loved the women. It’s a really enjoyable book.

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Intriguing history

As other reviewers have pointed out this covers the fall rather than the rise. I kept thinking I'd fallen asleep and missed the detail of how the money was made. The story focuses on some of the previous Vanderbilts and is told with economy and style. A fascinating account.

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worth a listen

some parts are like a history lesson, some parts are excellent and some parts are unnecessarily detailed but it's a very interesting viewpoint from a member of extended family

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