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Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

por Anderson Cooper, Katherine Howe

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5581742,311 (3.81)5
Biography & Autobiography. Business. History. Nonfiction. HTML:

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

One of the Washington Post's Notable Works of Nonfiction of 2021

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… (mais)

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Book on CD read by Anderson Cooper
3.5***

Subtitle: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

Cooper, the son of “the last Vanderbilt” (Gloria Vanderbilt), and a trained journalist, looks at the family legacy in this work of nonfiction.

There have been many books written about this uber wealthy family of the gilded age. Usually, the books have focused on one or two of the generations from Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt to his children and grandchildren. Cooper tries to encapsulate the history of his family in its entirety.

Unfortunately, there is so much information about the family that we get only glimpses of some of the more colorful members. His focus seems to be on how the Commodore accumulated so much wealth (and why doing so was so all-encompassing for him), and how his descendants managed to squander it all away.

Dysfunctional family with a capital ‘D’! The rich ARE different. He spends some time countering the book (and TV miniseries) made about his mother, Little Gloria, Happy At Last, relating the “true story” behind some of the dramatized scenes.

On the whole, it held my attention, and I learned a few tidbits I hadn’t previously come across.

The text comes with many photos. The ones printed in the center of the book all have captions, but the photos on the front and back cover, and on the front and back endpapers have no captions, so the reader is left to puzzle out who these people might be.

Cooper does a fine job of reading the book. He is, after all, invested in the story. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 22, 2024 |
3.5 stars
I listened to the audio version (Anderson Cooper reads) and I enjoyed this very much. If you have any interest in the Gilded Age in NY (or the HBO series), the first part of the book is an interesting look at how the Vanderbilts operated and excelled in that social caste. Later on there is a chapter on the America's Cup sailing race and a bit on rise and fall of Truman Capote. Overall it is a fascinating trip through the history of the wealthy society in NYC. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
ANDERSON IS A CNN PERSONALITY AND THE SON OF ONE OF HER HUSBANDS. IT IS A GOOD SUMMARY OF LIFE AMONG THE RICH AND WOULD MAKE A GOOD TOUR BOOK OF ALL THE PLACES WHERE THEY LIVED. ( )
  pgabj | Oct 18, 2023 |
If you're interested in the Gilded Age and nouveau riche this is a great book. It was really interesting reading about the rise to wealth of the family. The extravagance and opulence that they lived among and created are mind-blowing. Also mindblowing is the fact that so little of this great empire exists today. It is a star-studded cast of characters told from a removed but insider voice of Anderson Cooper. It probably deserves a higher rating because it is very well done I just am not sure that I cared all that much about the rise and fall of the family as much as others might. ( )
  MsTera | Oct 10, 2023 |
This book surprised me. I really borrowed it because I have so much respect for Anderson Cooper. I have very little interest in the stories of rich people, including Cooper’s family, the famous Vanderbilts. I had read one of Anderson’s previous books, “The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss,” and on the strength of that book, I thought I would take a chance on this one. I’m glad I did. I listened to the audio version of the book, narrated beautifully by Anderson Cooper. Anderson was in the process of adopting his first son, Wyatt, while writing this book. He said that friends and acquaintances constantly asked him if he was going to give Wyatt, who was named for Anderson’s father, the middle name Vanderbilt. His response, “I never considered naming him Vanderbilt.” And when someone asked him how it felt to be a member of one of the richest, most powerful families in the history of this country, he said, “I’m a Cooper, not a Vanderbilt.” What I found extremely interesting about this book was what I learned about the life and times of the culture the Vanderbilts, the Astors, and the rest of that world they lived in. A sideline was an interesting section on Truman Capote. I learned several things about him I didn’t know, including what led to his downfall: an ill advised article he wrote for Esquire Magazine in 1975, “La Cote Basque—1965.” In that article he exposed many of the embarrassing stories behind the gossip about the rich and famous at the time. He claimed it was “thinly disguised,” but it was anything but that, and everyone mentioned in the piece as well as those who were friends and family of those people, cut Capote off. His masterpiece, “In Cold Blood” put him on the map and made him the center of the A list on both coasts. “La Cote Basque” knocked him off…permanently. Cooper wrote this book with novelist Katherine Howe, and I’m not sure how much Anderson actually wrote. The writing is masterfully written whoever wrote it. I highly recommend “The Vanderbilts: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty.” ( )
  FormerEnglishTeacher | Oct 7, 2023 |
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Howe, Katherineautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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Poor Vanderbilt! How I pity you; and this is honest. You are an old man, and ought to have your rest, and yet you have to struggle, and deny yourself, and rob yourself of restful sleep and peace of mind, because you need money so badly. I always feel for a man who is so poverty ridden as you. Don't misunderstand me, Vanderbilt. I know you own seventy millions; but then you know and I know, that it isn't what a man has, that constitutes wealth. No - it is to be satisfied with what one has; that is wealth. -Mark Twain, Packard's Monthly, March 1869
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To Wyatt. —A. C.

To my mother, Katherine S. Howe, and to Charles. — K. H.
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When I was six, my father took me to Grand Central Terminal in New York to see the imposing bronze statue of my great-great-great-grandfather "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt. It stands high on a pedestal on the south side of the train terminal he founded, within sight of Vanderbilt Avenue and a hotel that, back then, was also named after him. -Introduction
Gladys had to be out of The Breakers by 4 o'clock. That was the deadline they'd given her. 4 p.m. Good Friday. She wasn't being evicted exactly. There had been no court proceedings, no sheriff serving her notice, nothing embarrassing like that. But she was being kicked out. -Prologue
Heavy clouds lay low over the sleeping city. -Chapter 1
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Biography & Autobiography. Business. History. Nonfiction. HTML:

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

One of the Washington Post's Notable Works of Nonfiction of 2021

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

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