[Reading] ➯ Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt ➷ Arthur T. Vanderbilt II – Saudionline.co.uk


Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt explained Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, review Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, trailer Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, box office Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, analysis Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt, Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt 93e0 Vanderbilt The Very Name Signifies Wealth The Family Patriarch, The Commodore, Built Up A Fortune That Made Him The World S Richest Man By 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

  • Paperback
  • Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt
  • Arthur T. Vanderbilt II
  • English
  • 09 August 2017
  • 9780688103866

About the Author: Arthur T. Vanderbilt II

Attorney, author, avid gardener, Arthur T Vanderbilt II served as deputy attorney general of New Jersey and is now a partner in a New Jersey law firm.



10 thoughts on “Fortune's Children: the Fall of the House of Vanderbilt

  1. says:

    3.5 Stars Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness The of it one has the one wants Benjamin Franklin The very name Vanderbilt 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.I love books on the gilded age and was delighted to get my hands on a copy of this one as it is a very detailed account of the fall of the House of Vanderbilt I had visited Newport some years ago and did a tour of some of the Mansions and the Marble House and the Breakers were among them which were built by the Vanderbilt family.I really enjoyed the read and first third of the book deals with The commodore and how he managed to build his fortune and the remainder of the book focus on the his decedents and how they managed to squander millions.The book is very well researched and written wih a numerous photographs, notes, bibliography and Index I loved reading about The Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt and how he built up his fortune to make him the world s richest man by 1877 The book is very detailed and we are introduced to several key members of the Vanderbilt family and learn about their marriages how they squandered the fortune that Commodore built up By the end of the book I was exhausted reading about the opulence and the dreadful waste and greed of this family The book does become quite repetitive and I think it could have been slimmed way down by at least 100 pages and it would have had much an impact on me.Having said that I did enjoy the read and although it was a bit of slog it is certainly interesting and satisfied my curiosity about the Vanderbilt family.

  2. says:

    This book proved to me that writing a review in which you can t stand the characters is not easy This is the history of the rise and fall of the Vanderbilt dynasty and the absolutely idiotic squandering of money just because they had it Each branch of the family tried to outdo the others and it became a race to see who could have the biggest, the best, and the most The writing is not bad the author is the son of the man who built the still extant Bilt House in Asheville, NC but the excesses are almost beyond belief I hate to admit that it kept me interested to a point but I certainly was no fan of the players Proceed at your own risk

  3. says:

    Reading this book reminded me of a game of Monopoly The dynasty of the Vanderbilts began in 1784 with the Commodore, and 100 years after his death, his wealth had been divided among 787 descendants, making it practically worthless This was against his wishes He wanted to keep his wealth concentrated in one generation, similar to primogeniture.By the time his grandsons inherited, this wish had been broken But what was fascinating about this book was the importance the females had during the Gilded Age The males weren t the leading personalities The distaff line produced the headlines Alva, Alice, Gertrude, Gloria all of these women are easily identified Young Gloria s terrifying custody battle closes the book It makes an easy segue way into The Rainbow book she wrote last year with her son, Anderson Cooper I really enjoyed this book I learned much about this family consisted American royalty.

  4. says:

    This is very readable, interesting, ironic, funny and page turning Extreme wealth is wasted on the descendants who don t quite seem to match the family founder, even if they make money.The founder of the family, Cornelius Vanderbilt the first, was uneducated and from a wealthy enough family that his mom was able to give him 100.00 In the 1850 s that s roughly equivalent to 3100.00 Yet at that period in the USA there was as much a trade as a cash economy Many working class whites, free blacks, and various POC weren t paid in cash, but in trade or board, etc So Cornelius came from a well off, stable family with extra cash on hand It s not surprising that given his work ethic, toxic frugality, stinginess combined with immoral business practices he became the wealthiest man in the US He was so cheap he didn t even financially support his children, his wife worked at one of his businesses and paid for the growing brood herself He stole from his daughter as well as other women who asked him to invest money for them He s horrid and became wealthy through shady business practices, most of which are now illegal.This was during a period, similar to the one we are currently living in Where the extremely wealthy impoverish their employees, creating massive inequities This was at one time limited by federal policy This type of extreme, unchecked greediness causes economic depression and instability Yet, our undemocratic system has allowed the wealthy few control of the government.This is as much about the wives married to Vanderbilt sons Much less about Vanderbilt daughters who marry outside of the family.The houses were ridiculous, Marble House is obscene though gorgeous Each generation becomes better at spending than earning Soon it s gone, lol.

  5. says:

    I applied for and got a job working at the Bilt in Guest Relations at The House Oh yeah Dream job I am so excited It s so beautiful.I ve been thru Marble House, The Breakers, Hyde Park, years ago so I was quite aware of the Commodore and some of the family history But what a story Although the book said very little about George Washington Vanderbilt, the Bilt Vanderbilt, it was educational to learn much detail about his family.They were the Trumps, Kardashians, And Hiltons of their time all rolled into one Family drama Divorce Disinheritence Alcohol Money More money Society Fashion Parties Houses and houses And boredom that comes from having too much with no struggle A baby elephant parading thru a dinner party for no reason other than no one else had done it I can see why George W Vanderbilt sought refuge from it all in these wonderful North Carolina mountains Very well written Very informative I read for hours at a time.

  6. says:

    The book profiles the Vanderbilt heirs The first chapter, obligatorily about the Commodore, is a tale often told, most recently in The First Tycoon The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt which led me to this 1989 book The following chapters describe children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and a few great great grandchildren The female scions, who are essentially disinherited, are dropped right away, as are the Commodore s son Cornelius and his progeny There are a few tales of some high profile disinheritances.The writing takes the reader into the society of Gilded Age with its lavish houses and parties The descriptions of other major players such as Mrs Astor, Mrs Fish, the Lehr s and Ward McAllister are interesting, but I d rather have had the space devoted to on the Vanderbilts.One chapter is devoted to Alva a Vanderbilt for only 20 years who brought this socially shunned family into society by building the most lavish homes and throwing the most lavish parties Her sad mother daughter story appears in several places throughout the book For on this relationship I recommend Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age.The sub title implies that the Vanderbilt wealth is gone, as does the discussion at the end This is not entirely proved since not all Vanderbilts are covered, and not all who are covered are followed up on The Bilt, while not a residence, and is now shrunk to 8,000 acres, is still in the contol of Vanderbilt heirs There are some females, such as Gertrude, who joined their inheritances modest in Vanderbilt terms through marriage creating new assets that probably continue to produce great wealth today The Commodore s plan to keep the wealth together in the male named line clearly did not pan out The Commodore could have never envisioned Doris Duke The Richest Girl in the World The Extravagant Life and Fast Times of Doris Duke another outsider to Society, who kept the Duke tobacco and energy fortune together through equally turbulent times.The book is a good read The writer, Arthur T Vanderbilt, makes it flow He never discloses his place in the family tree I checked the internet and still have no clue I did find that in 2008, this book had been optioned for a movie 2013 I see that this book came out in a new edition in 2012 Now, there is a bit info on the internet identifying the author as a distant to those in the book Vanderbilt cousin.

  7. says:

    If readers want to learn how many of the wealthy choose to live, and learn about what they consider important in life, and what values and ideals that many rich adult children of the wealthy growing up in wealth all of their lives have hint none that are readily observable , especially after they reach the age where they become entitled to control their trust funds or inherited wealth, read Fortune s Children The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt about the Vanderbilts, written by Arthur T Vanderbilt II It goes into glorious detail about the wondrous lifestyle of the rich and famous of 1890 until about 1929.I may have spoiled a little, gentle reader, in my review below I can t help myself It is very likely you may not ever read this book so many books, not enough time but I want you to learn what I learned Apologies in advance.This book is a biography of the life of one of the Gilded Age family founders Cornelius Vanderbilt 1794 1877 an illiterate hardened and crude man after years from a childhood on fishing schooners and produce goods steamboat carriers, later a railroad investor Then the book further details the lives of the later generations of Vanderbilts The millions of dollars The Commodore Cornelius accumulated was almost entirely spent by his Gilded Era society children and grandchildren Their story is remarkable because it shows how in four generations a family can wipe out what was the family s almost unimaginable wealth in unwise ostentation What is even mind blowing is WHAT they spent the money on however, as I mentioned, I have read stories and seen TV shows which demonstrate things the rich buy are still mostly unwise and outrageously ostentatious Despite that this book is mostly about late nineteenth century early twentieth century New York City society in America, how wealthy people lived then does not seem much different than what TV shows and magazine articles I have read about the current twenty first century beautiful people of the world appear to live today Perhaps current rich people should read this book very closely Many first generation Gilded Age wealthy founders I have read about, usually from horrible low life families, appear to be generally cruel, almost psychopathic, and definitely obsessive compulsive Some in their later years, around fifty, soften and mellow But they initially, after marrying what often is the first of many wives and or mistresses, treat their children like distrusted hired servants who might steal the silver or they seem to conduct experiments in breaking down their innocent prepubescent children as if they were wild full grown horses to be whipped into obedience and into the supposed rigid behaviors and manners of European aristocrats That is, if they actually cared at all about their kids Some acted as if their children were a rumor created by their delighted newly wealthy social climbing wives although sometimes the first wife was becomes a religious fanatic in which either case the founder may never leave his office except maybe to see his mistress Moderation, in any case, was is an unknown state to these people.The second generation often were scared shadows of their demanding fathers and often parvenue mothers, afraid to displease or shame their upward striving parents, having rarely felt much approval or affection and afraid of being disinherited Their job was to become the educated icebreakers into older Victorian blue blood society, to marry well, preferably European royals or third generation American industrialists or Mayflower descendents Some of this generation will not be selected by their exacting, if irrational, parents as worthy of taking over the family business, or they demonstrated spunk and rebelliousness, so they were kicked out of the nest to fend for themselves or were given a pittance of the father s wealth and attention.The third generation, if having inherited wealth, seem to become entirely lost, sunk deep into a sucking quicksand of constant mindless pleasure boating, gambling, traveling, sex, hard partying and outrageously wasteful and showy consumerism, rarely showing up at the office or consulting financial advisors, and failing to graduate from college or apply themselves to an education at all, naming themselves gentlemen while their women buy and jewels, furniture, clothes, art, mansions, servantsThe second generation of male Vanderbilts seemed to enlarge the faults of being the second generation by marrying golddigger aggressive women who had the faults of what normally defines the third generation The author goes into amazing descriptions of the most baroque expenditures, backed by academic research There are pictures of the estates and the interiors of these palaces built by many of the Vanderbilts They had to employ hundreds of staff and servants to maintain a single establishment, and they each had dozens of establishments And it was all gone in sixty years, many of the houses torn down or auctioned off, often with pieces of interior art or a fireplace sold for only a few thousand dollars, if even that, despite that the original purchase price having been originally perhaps half a million dollars for this painting or that molding or for a particular eight foot wide crystal chandelier or marble staircase Most of what the Vandervilts bought ended up in garbage dumps by 1950, although some art pieces ended up in museums or their massive houses were picked up or converted into a public park or government office, or a hotel They had bought yachts which required hundreds of employees on board to run and to maintain and eventually some family members ended up living on a rundown yacht, having let go all of the staff so that they were stuck floating in a rented space, tied up at some dock The amplification of social climbing and feeling as if the robber baron money would never stop was ultimately a disaster for keeping the Vanderbilt fortune intact Many of the Vanderbilts spent not only the interest of trusts and investments, but spent down the principal and sold the stocks and bonds they inherited It is incredible how each of the Vanderbilts squandered their money They spent and spent and spent.Here is a bit information about the era in which the Vanderbilts enjoyed themselves First, the somewhat good news there were available jobs and comparatively higher pay for the masses during the Gilded Age In the mix though was bad news about horrendous work conditions and what was basically an unlivable wage despite that it was higher pay Quoted from Wikipedia about the Gilded Age The Gilded Age was an era of rapid economic growth, especially in the North and West As American wages grew much higher than those in Europe, especially for skilled workers, the period saw an influx of millions of European immigrants The rapid expansion of industrialization led to a real wage growth of 60%, between 1860 and 1890, and spread across the ever increasing labor force The average annual wage per industrial worker including men, women, and children rose from 380 in 1880, to 564 in 1890, a gain of 48% However, the Gilded Age was also an era of abject poverty and inequality, as millions of immigrants many from impoverished regions poured into the United States, and the high concentration of wealth became visible and contentious.Railroads were the major growth industry, with the factory system, mining, and finance increasing in importance Immigration from Europe, and the eastern states, led to the rapid growth of the West, based on farming, ranching, and mining Labor unions became increasingly important in the rapidly growing industrial cities Two major nationwide depressions the Panic of 1873 and the Panic of 1893 interrupted growth and caused social and political upheavals The South, after the Civil War, remained economically devastated its economy became increasingly tied to commodities, cotton, and tobacco production, which suffered from low prices With the end of the Reconstruction era in 1877, African American people in the South were stripped of political power and voting rights, and were left economically disadvantaged.For in depth information about these era developments, I recommend reading Morgan American Financier in which a description of how the robber barons involved with financing the amazing growth of American business created banks and financial institutions,AndTitan The Life of John D Rockefeller, Sr in which it is described how some penniless but ambitious rural teenagers, of whom many are briefly described in this book although it is primarily focused around Rockefeller s journey from abject poverty to richest robber baron in America, ruthlessly invented and expanded American industry.Excerpts from Fortune s Children also about HOW the wealthy of the Gilded Age generally used their money, not only the Vanderbilts At the same time, rapid economic expansion was creating new manufacturing, banking, railroad, oil, and mining millionaires, each trying to make his make his mark and break into society by increasingly lavish expenditures A newspaper reporter who had written that the millionaires of Newport devoted themselves to pleasure regardless of expense was corrected by one of the Four Hundred a members list of top New York City elite rich people who explained that what they really did was to devote themselves to expense regardless of pleasure It is doubtful, another member of the Four Hundred complained, whether there are useless and empty ways of spending money in the world than can be found at Newport Bessie Lehr remembered Mrs Pembroke Jones telling her that she always set aside 300,000 at the beginning of every Newport season for entertaining Some hostesses must have spent even A single ball could cost 100,000 even 200,000 No one considered money except for what it could buy Mamie Fish was right society had gone mad At a millionaire s dinner party in the ballroom at Sherry s all the guests ate on horseback, the horses hooves covered with rubber pads to protect the floors One hostess hid a perfect Black Pearl in each of the oysters served to her guests, and a host handed out cigarettes rolled in 100 bills Another party featured a pile of sand in the middle of the table, and toy shovels at the guests seats upon command, the guests dug into the sand, searching for buried gems A millionaire thought nothing of buying a 15,000 diamond dog collar, a pair of opera glasses encrusted with diamonds and sapphires for 75,000, a bed inlaid with ivory and ebony and gold for 200,000, a necklace for his true love for 500,000.In 1895, a visitor from France, viewing the two mile stretch of Fifth Avenue that faced Central Park Millionaires Row as it was called thirty years before, this part of the city had been nothing but flimsy wooden shacks and scrub growth was dumbfounded It is too evident that money cannot have much value here There is too much of it The interminable succession of luxurious mansions which line Fifth Avenue proclaim its mad abundance No shops, unless of articles of luxury a few dressmakers, a few picture dealers only independent dwellings each one of which, including the ground on which it stands, implies a revenue which one dares not calculate The absence of unity in this architecture is a sufficient reminder that this is the country of the individual will, as the absence of gardens and trees around these sumptuous residences proves the newness of all this wealth and of the city This avenue has visibly been willed and created by sheer force of millions, in a fever of land speculation, which has not left an inch of ground unoccupied To the Frenchman the mediocre taste of the rich was suffocating On the floors of halls which are too high there are too many precious Persian and Oriental rugs There are too many tapestries, too many paintings on the walls of the drawing rooms The guest chambers have too many bibelots, too much rare furniture, and on the lunch or dinner table there are too many flowers, too many plants, too much crystal, too much silver It was the height of the Gilded Age Before the Civil War, there were fewer than a dozen millionaires in the United States In 1892, the New York Tribune published a list of 4,047 millionaires, over 100 of them having fortunes that exceeded 10 million It was estimated that 9 percent of the nation s families controlled 71 percent of the national wealth As the self indulgent old rich and new rich flaunted their wealth paying on average 300,000 a year to maintain their city mansions and Newport cottages, 50.000 to keep their yachts afloat, and 12,000 each time they wanted to give a little party, hundreds of thousands of immigrants were jammed into tenements not far from the fabulous Millionaires Row Thousands of child laborers worked in sweatshops for 161 a year.Common laborers made 2 to 3 a day, with the average worker earning 495 a year Two thirds of the nation s families had incomes of less than 900 only one family in twenty had an income of than 3,000 Sounds kinda like 2019, only in 1900 dollars.The book has an extensive Notes section, and an Index and a Bibliography While an academically based and deeply researched book, it is written in a very accessible style, almost like a People Magazine article.

  8. says:

    I picked up this book at the library after a recent trip to Newport, where we toured the Breakers and Marble House, two magnificent cottages built by Vanderbilts for millions of dollars and used by their owners for about 1 year Who are these crazy Vanderbilts The saga of the Vanderbilts can at times be mistaken for fiction The cankerous patriarch Commodore the social schemer Alva the unwilling bride Consuelo the staid Cornelius and Alice the custody fight over young Gloria supporting characters like Mrs Astor and Ward McAllister this is entertaining stuff, and the book provides an excellent historical view of the Gilded Age.I was grossly fascinated by the excesses of this privileged class with nothing to do but find new ways to entertain themselves within their rigid social structure like having a dinner where every guest is seated on horseback or only baby talk is spoken Us poor people, at least our lives have purpose dreary, monotonous purpose

  9. says:

    I suspect that in 100 years, they will refer to the time in which we live as the Second Gilded Age if Donald Trump is elected, he can be a stand in for those Gilded Age presidents of yore, Grant and his bearded kith perhaps these new Gilded Age presidents will be known for their cosmetic surgery or interesting hair styles instead of Victorian manly beards Fortune s Fall is a tale of the First Gilded Age, from the point of view of the most famous, the richest and the grandiosely gilded and gross family of them all, the Vanderbilts I say tale because part of this nonfiction book read like a the very best potboiler or soap opera If all this weren t true, then you d think it was a melodrama, with all the family feuds, divorces, affairs, abandoned children, hints of lesbian sex it s like Falcon Crest or Dallas with railroads instead of vinyards or oil, and all true well, Arthur T Vanderbilt s version of the truth, and who are we to question him, with a last name like that Vanderbilt traces the rise and fall of this golden family, from the beginnings to the bitter, income and inheritance tax ridden end The only thing missing from this rendition of the Gilded Age are politicians the Vanderbilts didn t really go for politics not like their far less rich neighbors, the Roosevelts We already know when the write Fortune s Children the Fall of the House of Trump, politics will have a chapter all to itself.

  10. says:

    I read this years ago and found it absolutely fascinating I m excited to see that MacMillan is reissuing it sometime in the next year.

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