A review of


The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

American Empire (now defunct)

by David Meyer

CNN’s Anderson Cooper tells his forebears’ amazing tale: once America’s richest clan, they wasted it all.

In the 20th century, the name Vanderbilt meant conspicuous wealth, dissipation and designer jeans. Cornelius Vanderbilt created one of the country’s greatest fortunes by building railroad and shipping networks in the 19th century. Within 100 years, most of his wealth was gone. With affection and irony, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, son of artist and designer Gloria Vanderbilt, recounts his family’s fabled rise and public fall.

The Commodore

When Cornelius Vanderbilt – “the Commodore” – died in 1877, he left his family $100 million, $2 billion in today’s dollars.

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