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Chris

Boulder, CO, USA
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  • The First Tycoon

  • The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt
  • By: T.J. Stiles
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 28 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 866
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 706
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 702

In The First Tycoon, Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore's personal life. It is a sweeping, fast-moving epic, and a complex portrait of the great man. Vanderbilt, Stiles shows, embraced the philosophy of the Jacksonian Democrats and withstood attacks by his conservative enemies for being too competitive. He was a visionary who pioneered business models.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Great! If you can get through it...

  • By john on 08-08-10

Tiring, but informative

Overall
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 03-27-10

This is a very detailed account of the Commodore's life, as such, it tends to get windy at parts. The text is characterized by long departures into side roads mostly concerned with Vanderbilt's contemporaries, the politics of the day, and Vanderbilt family members. To someone interested in studying the enigmatic success of one of history's archetypal capitalists, these sidetracks are fatal to attention. The narration was consistent and unfailing however, the narrator has the odd habit of affecting a strange (almost mocking) voice when he reads quotations from the period.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful