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

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

4.1 17
by Arthur T., II Vanderbilt II
 

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Vanderbilt: the very name signifies wealth. The family patriarch, "the Commodore," built up a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after the Commodore's death, one of his direct descendants died penniless, and no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Fortune's Children

Overview

Vanderbilt: the very name signifies wealth. The family patriarch, "the Commodore," built up a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after the Commodore's death, one of his direct descendants died penniless, and no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Fortune's Children tells the dramatic story of all the amazingly colorful spenders who dissipated such 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:
9780062288370
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/16/2013
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
34,718
File size:
8 MB

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 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 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.
machmuses 9 months ago
This is a rich, historical account of a well-known family and their excesses. The details are such that you can see the row of beautiful mansions. In the end, all I could think of was how sad it must be for the Vanderbilts of today to know that their fortunes were squandered away.
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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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the book but its only giving me the free sample?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago