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Extended Audio Sample Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, by Patrick Lawlor, Arthur T. Vanderbilt II Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick Lawlor, Arthur T. Vanderbilt II Narrator: Patrick Lawlor Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A fascinating picture of social and financial struggle in New York a hundred years ago…a truly fascinating book.”

    Brooke Astor, American author, philanthropist, and socialite

  • Fortune’s Children is a monument to the mesmerizing power of money…The author has been assiduous in combing memoirs, biographies, and private papers and in raiding the social columnists of the period. He has an eye for a memorable quotation.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “A financial fairy tale so bizarre it dwarfs the antics of modern Midases such as Malcolm Forbes and Donald Trump.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A spellbinding tale of how money really does change everything.”

    Kansas City Sun

  • “Among the author’s earlier books is Changing Law, 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…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.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “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.”

    Library Journal

  • “Cornelius Vanderbilt, who was called the Commodore, saw one steamboat give way to a fleet and then to trains. Likewise, his family saw one mansion on Staten Island grow into several, as described in this book by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II. Patrick Lawlor gives voice to the Commodore with an intimidating bluntness. The other Vanderbilt family members, as portrayed by Lawlor, mostly sound in awe of him. Still, as the author cheerfully describes society parties and mansions, listeners can hear a tone of amusement at the instances of excessive luxury, such as footmen bearing ice cream for the kids. The family’s gilt may be gone, but stories that shift from industriousness to custody battles recall a golden past.”

    AudioFile

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