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The Vanderbilts

Narrated by: Ray Childs
Length: 6 hrs and 25 mins

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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.

©2010 Jerry E. Patterson (P)2012 Audio Bookshelf

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Neil Chisholm
  • Neil Chisholm
  • 06-05-13

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!

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Lori
  • Lori
  • 08-04-15

Good read.

Interesting. Fun. Good read if you want to visit any of the Vanderbilt houses. Even better the second time. End

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tracy
  • Tracy
  • 03-12-13

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.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Jeffrey J. Kemp
  • Jeffrey J. Kemp
  • 11-06-12

An interesting family.......

Would you consider the audio edition of The Vanderbilts to be better than the print version?

A subject I wouldn't normally purchase in print form

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Vanderbilts?

The reading of the Commodore's will

Have you listened to any of Ray Childs???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

Any additional comments?

A fun, short biography of one of the most iconic names in 20th century history.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Diane
  • Diane
  • 27-03-12

more of a summary than indepth.

What did you love best about The Vanderbilts?

Easy to listen to

Would you recommend The Vanderbilts to your friends? Why or why not?

not what I thought it would be

Which scene was your favorite?

none

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

no extreme reaction. waiting for more indepth re: Cornelius Vanderbilt and his influence on family and society and never got it

Any additional comments?

no

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Donna M. Rhoten
  • Donna M. Rhoten
  • 19-10-20

History lesson

This book was very interesting history without being boring. This was a Very enjoyable listen.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dr. Bill- Northern NJ-USA
  • Dr. Bill- Northern NJ-USA
  • 11-10-20

Rich or Poor- It’s good to have Money

No new revelations here- I’m not sure what exactly I was anticipating, however I didn’t receive anything new information

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-20

Very thorough

I liked it. It was thoroughly interesting without going into trivia. Especially when it discussed Biltmore and all that went into it's creation.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for One4All
  • One4All
  • 21-01-20

Good, but could have been better!

The story of this family is fascinating and the content provided in this book does a fairly good job relating the story. However, at times the continuity of family history was confusing. The voice of the narrator became irritating and rather monotonous as it droned on. Additionally, the narrator mispronounced the names of a few of the vital characters in this book indicative of his reading the book without knowledge of the people in the story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for David P
  • David P
  • 26-09-19

Very Interesting

Believe it or not, Rich families and money are very interesting. All the different people made it a little confusing, however, it was very interesting.