Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt
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Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt

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by Arthur T., II Vanderbilt II
     
 

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For fans of Downton Abbey, a real-life American version of the Crawley family—Fortune's Children is an enthralling true story that recreates the drama, splendor, and wealth of the legendary Vanderbilts.

Vanderbilt: The very name is synonymous with the Gilded Age. The family patriarch, "the Commodore,” built a fortune that

Overview

For fans of Downton Abbey, a real-life American version of the Crawley family—Fortune's Children is an enthralling true story that recreates the drama, splendor, and wealth of the legendary Vanderbilts.

Vanderbilt: The very name is synonymous with the Gilded Age. The family patriarch, "the Commodore,” built a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after his death, no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Written by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Fortune's Children traces the dramatic and amazingly colorful history of this great American family, from the rise of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt to the fall of his progeny—wild spendthrifts whose profligacy bankrupted a vast inheritance.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Among the author's earlier books is Changing Laws, an award-winning biography of his grandfather, Arthur T. Vanderbilt. His latest history, witty, entertaining and sad, also merits a prize for the writer, a lawyer and one among many members of the fabled family who inherited the Vanderbilt name but not the wealth. ``The Commodore'' (1794-1877) made $105 million by hook and by crook; Alva, wife of the founding father's son William, went on spending sprees that later heirs followed. Stories about the author's ancestors have been told before, but not so vividly as in his evocations of the snobbery, ostentation and profligacy that caused ``the fall of the House of Vanderbilt.'' Today's Vanderbilts are not rich-rich; the money is gone with the clan's grand homes, felled by wrecking balls in New York and elsewhere, leaving only memories of a singular time in the American past. Photos not seen by PW. BOMC alternate. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This could give Donald Trump nightmares: It is the story of how the seemingly solid fortune of railroad mogul Commodore Vanderbilt was dissipated down to practically nothing in the space of a century. In this family history, Vanderbilt dramatizes both the successes and excesses of America's Gilded Age--the enormous new wealth, the lavish lifestyles, and, later, the desperate schemes to maintain social status and fortune (contesting wills, matchmaking with nobility, and, most notably, battling for custody of ``Little Gloria''). But the story is not so much about people as the palaces they built--the Breakers, the Biltmore, and mansions which used to occupy blocks of now-prime Manhattan real estate--all of which became white elephants sold to preservation societies or Towers of Babels that fell under a wave of taxes and upkeep cost. An absorbing social history. BOMC alternate.-- Judy Quinn, ``Library Journal''

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062224064
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
12/26/2012
Pages:
495
Sales rank:
50,670
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.04(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Arthur T. Vanderbilt II is the author of many books, among them Changing Law, a biography of his grandfather Arthur T. Vanderbilt, which won the American Bar Association's Scribes Award. He practices law in New Jersey.

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Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is said the rich are different--and the Vanderbilt's were certainly different. This fascinating book takes the reader from the creation of unbelievable wealth on Staten Island to Marble House and the Breakers in Newport. Conspicuious consumption was the by-word of this family--until the money was all gone. Jewels, parties costing a quarter of a million dollars--you will not believe how these people lived during the "Golden Age" at the turn of the 20th Century. I enjoyed this book very much and I recommend it to anyone interested in this part of American history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a great read. Good timeline of the family and the times they lived in. Also liked the interspersing of other key characters of the era. Very entertaining book without getting too deep and dull into the family history. Would recommend for anyone who likes a light read.
Lovely-Linda More than 1 year ago
I thought this was wonderfuly written, very informative and a great read!! Great insight into the Gilded age!! Loved it the whole way through!!! Now want to read more about this era....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story about the utter isolation of this family from reality and the exorbitant spending which brought about their downfall as the "head" of society. I did get confused with the repeated use of the same names from one generation to the next. A family tree would have been helpful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Uncredible story of how the Vanderbilt fortune was made and then how the decendents of Commadore Vanderbilt blew the world's largest fortune. You wouldn't believe it if it were a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jmahon10524 More than 1 year ago
A wonderful description of what really happens to wealth as it goes from generation to generation. I highly recommend!
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I bought the book but its only giving me the free sample?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago