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Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt | [Edward J. Renehan]

Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Acclaimed historian Edward J. Renehan, Jr. - author of Dark Genius of Wall Street - draws upon previously unreleased documents to deliver the definitive biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the 19th-century transportation tycoon who accumulated the largest private fortune in U.S. history.
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Publisher's Summary

Acclaimed historian Edward J. Renehan, Jr. - author of Dark Genius of Wall Street - draws upon previously unreleased documents to deliver the definitive biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, the 19th-century transportation tycoon who accumulated the largest private fortune in U.S. history. This is the definitive biography of a man whose influence on American business was unsurpassed in his day - or any other.

©2007 Edward J. Renehan Jr.; (P)2008 Recorded Books

What the Critics Say

"Vanderbilt's personal life is fascinating; highlights include the Vanderbilts' grand tour of Europe, his lifelong penchant for prostitutes (including the Woodhull sisters, whom Vanderbilt made the first female brokers on Wall Street) and the syphilis-induced madness that plagued his final years - material new in this biography and a testament to Renehan's typically assiduous research." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    D. Littman OH 05-30-09
    D. Littman OH 05-30-09 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1282
    ratings
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    "An odd biography"

    Cornelius Vanderbilt was, with John Jacob Astor, the first millionaire industrialist in America. Both men accumulated their millions, and contributed mightily to US industrial development, long before the "takeoff" period in the US economy, which took place in the decades after the Civil War, and took the US to preeminent status among the world's developed countries by 1900. This book suffers alittle because Cornelius was not that interesting as a person, not all that colorful, but that is offset by the new material the author brings forth about steamships, railroads and corporations in the period from around 1810 to 1860. This is a little known and little studied period, so I think it can open the eyes of many readers.

    Because the book is more corporate & economic history than biography, it does not click along like many biographies ... it does not have a potboiler or gossipy base. And even I, a lover of economic history, missed some of that. But I do think it is worth reading if you are interested in US history and in US economic development.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Montgomery, IL, United States 04-13-12
    Amazon Customer Montgomery, IL, United States 04-13-12 Member Since 2010

    DF

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    6
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    Story
    "Interesting Life of a Robber Baron"

    I enjoyed this book, the first I have listened to, on the life of the Vanderbilt Patriarch. The narrator's performance was enjoyable and he was easy to understand. The book focused on life from the protagonists view and most of the time characters who were closely associated with him - either in business or personal life. Negative views of opponents were shared, but the majority of the information shared seemed to be neutral or positive.

    Overall, the author accomplished their goal to provide information on his life and did so in a meaningful way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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