The Vanderbilts

  • by Jerry E. Patterson
  • Narrated by Ray Childs
  • 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Cornelius Vanderbilt parlayed a $100.00 investment into the largest private transportation company in the world while creating an American Dynasty in New York, Newport, Vermont, and Asheville, North Carolina. This history of his family and their lush, opulent lifestyle is filled with juicy stories and fun tidbits about their lives in the Gilded Era.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It only brushes the cold marble surface

What disappointed you about The Vanderbilts?

Listening to this book was like expecting an entertaining description of a dinner party and being read only the ingredient list that went into the food. Besides the early story of "the Commodore" growing the wealth of the family, everything else is a bland repitition of "this person was the son/daughter of who, general disposition, jobs, marriage, houses, death, funeral at which church, reading the will" over and over. You hear more about their houses than their actual lives, and when the author write that there was "considerable scandals filling all the newspapers" he never gives you any of the details, which is almost as annoying as it is boring. There are some interesting facts and history in this book, but not enough.


How did the narrator detract from the book?

the narrator was almost monotone, but I guess he did about as well as he could with such monotone text.


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- Tracy

Obscene Riches

Everyone has heard about the Vanderbilts and their wealth but I was awed by their totally obscene wealth and their capacity to spend fortunes on mansions that were not noted for their architecture nor their contents just for their opulence and flashy luxury.

The original Vanderbilt made the majority of his money not by hard work but by manipulating the stocks and shares he held and this was how the family continued to hold onto and increase their incredible fortunes.

By and large the vast sums of money didn't seem to bring them happiness - there were famous custody cases, divorces and scandals and other than becoming the leaders of New York society none of them seemed to have a good time with their money.

It made interesting listening but at times the numbers and dates all got a bit confusing and the dollar amounts so vast that I had to repeat them outloud to comprehend them before gasping.

I enjoyed it but I sat there clasping my pearls at my throat at the sheer amounts of money spent on unimportant things while there were so many in great need and so little of their money was spent in philanthropy.

One to listen and gasp at and thank the lord that the gilded age has past!
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- Neil Chisholm

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-21-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.