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Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty


Book Overview: Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

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 captures.

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PublisherHarper PaperbacksHarper
Publication Date2022-09-202021-09-21
EditionFirst Edition
Dimensionsin x in x in
Weight lbs
Anderson Cooper
Anderson Cooper, a name synonymous with impactful journalism, is an eminent American broadcaster, author and news anchor currently presiding over the CNN news show, "Anderson Cooper 360°." He was born on June 3, 1967, in New York City to socialite Gloria Vanderbilt and writer Wyatt Cooper, instilling in him an affinity for storytelling. A Yale graduate, Cooper kicked off his journalistic journey in the early 1990s with Channel One, propelling himself into a career that would see him become one of the most recognizable and respected figures in American journalism. Cooper’s long-standing dedication to in-depth reporting has taken him to dangerous and remote corners of the world. From covering wars and political turmoils to major national and global events such as the 9/11 attacks, the desperate conditions in Somalia, the Egyptian Revolution, and the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Cooper has consistently delivered stories that are compelling, sensitive, and enlightening. A fearless journalist, he represents a rare breed of reporters who believe in going where the story is, often putting himself in perilous situations to provide firsthand reports. Furthermore, Anderson Cooper has extended his journalistic contributions to the literary world by authoring several bestselling books, such as "Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival," and "The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss," co-written with his late mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. A multiple Emmy Award winner, Cooper's career exemplifies an unparalleled commitment to truth, rendering an objective lens on the world's most pressing matters. His work continues to encourage the public to engage with global events and to remain discerning consumers of news.
Katherine Howe is an acclaimed American author, recognized for her unique ability to intertwine historical events with fascinating fiction. Born in Houston, Texas, Howe pursued her love for history and literature by earning degrees from Columbia and Boston Universities, before delving into the world of historical fiction writing. Her academic background, complemented by a rich family history that includes three accused witches from the infamous Salem Witch Trials, often provides the foundation for her highly engaging narratives. Howe made her breakthrough in the literary world with her debut novel "The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane," published in 2009. It seamlessly blended history, mystery, and romantic suspense, staying on the New York Times Best Sellers list for weeks. Such success has been mirrored in her subsequent works, such as "The House of Velvet and Glass" and "The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen," both also receiving critical acclaim for their immersive storytelling and meticulous historical detail. Beyond writing, Katherine Howe demonstrates a firm commitment to nurturing literary skills in others. She has taught writing and historical fiction courses at a variety of renowned institutions, including Yale University. Howe's grasp on both historical nuances and captivating plot development sets her work apart, placing her as a distinctive voice in the realm of contemporary historical fiction. Her novels are not only timeless pieces of literature but also a testament to the power of history in shaping our stories today.


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