First Tycoon : The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by STILES, T.J.
- ISBN: 9780375415425 | 0375415424
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 4/21/2009
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From the award-winning author ofJesse James: Last Rebel of the Civil War the first full, authoritative life of the complex and combative man whose genius and force of will gave birth to modern capitalism. Born to humble circumstances on Staten Island in 1794, Cornelius Vanderbilt "The Commodore" amassed one of the greatest fortunes ever.The First Tycoon gives us a sweeping account of his rise from boatman to steamboat entrepreneur, from builder of the nation's largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. We see him help ignite the Gold Rush; reshape Manhattan (he built the original Grand Central railroad station); lead the hunt for Confederate warships during the Civil War; rescue Wall Street from panics with his personal fortune and pioneer the giant corporation as we know it today. T. J. Stiles brings to life the unschooled fistfighter who came to command the respect of New York's social elite; the husband by turns abusive and loving; the father who struggled with contradictory feelings for a gambling-addicted son; the old man who constructed a dynasty that reigned over the new American aristocracy for decades to come. And we see clearly the first corporate tycoon who not only launched the Gilded Age but also created the financial mind-set that still defines our society and helped to move America into an age of modernity. Meticulously researched, written with stunning insight and narrative richness,The First Tycoon is a monumental work of biography.