Monday, November 01, 2021

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

My book for October was Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper. I saw Cooper talk about the book on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Sharon and I both started the book before the anniversary trip. The intention was that we would read it at the same time and talk about it while we were driving. Both of us ended up reading very little on the trip.

I didn't realize that Anderson Cooper was the great-great-great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Cornelius Vanderbilt (May 27, 1794 to January 4, 1877) was an American business magnate who built his wealth in railroads and shipping. Cornelius was one of the one of the richest Americans in history.

Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Laura Vanderbilt. Gloria lived from February 20, 1924 to June 17, 2019. She was an American artist, author, actress, fashion designer, heiress, and socialite.

The book follows each generation of the family from Cornelius to Gloria as they squander the fortune that they inherited. Cooper refers to Gloria as the last Vanderbilt.

I give the book a luke-warmed recommendation [B or B-?]. I found the second half of the book, particularly the chapters about Gloria and Cooper's relationship with his mother, very good. It does motivate me to read more complete biographies about Cornelius and Gloria. I am also interested in reading The Rainbow Comes and Goes: A Mother and Son on Life, Love, and Loss.

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