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Astor
Cover of Astor
Astor
The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune
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The number one New York Times bestselling authors of Vanderbilt return with another riveting history of a legendary American family, the Astors, and how they built and lavished their fortune.

The story of the Astors is a quintessentially American story—of ambition, invention, destruction, and reinvention.

From 1783, when German immigrant John Jacob Astor first arrived in the United States, until 2009, when Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, was convicted of defrauding his elderly mother, the Astor name occupied a unique place in American society.

The family fortune, first made by a beaver trapping business that grew into an empire, was then amplified by holdings in Manhattan real estate. Over the ensuing generations, Astors ruled Gilded Age New York society and inserted themselves into political and cultural life, but also suffered the most famous loss on the Titanic, one of many shocking and unexpected twists in the family's story.

In this unconventional, page-turning historical biography, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe chronicle the lives of the Astors and explore what the Astor name has come to mean in America—offering a window onto the making of America itself.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

The number one New York Times bestselling authors of Vanderbilt return with another riveting history of a legendary American family, the Astors, and how they built and lavished their fortune.

The story of the Astors is a quintessentially American story—of ambition, invention, destruction, and reinvention.

From 1783, when German immigrant John Jacob Astor first arrived in the United States, until 2009, when Brooke Astor's son, Anthony Marshall, was convicted of defrauding his elderly mother, the Astor name occupied a unique place in American society.

The family fortune, first made by a beaver trapping business that grew into an empire, was then amplified by holdings in Manhattan real estate. Over the ensuing generations, Astors ruled Gilded Age New York society and inserted themselves into political and cultural life, but also suffered the most famous loss on the Titanic, one of many shocking and unexpected twists in the family's story.

In this unconventional, page-turning historical biography, #1 New York Times bestselling authors Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe chronicle the lives of the Astors and explore what the Astor name has come to mean in America—offering a window onto the making of America itself.

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

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About the Author-
  • Anderson Cooper joined CNN in 2001 and has anchored his own program, Anderson Cooper 360°, since March 2003. Cooper has won 18 Emmys and numerous other major journalism awards. He lives in New York with his sons.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 31, 2023
    CNN journalist Cooper and novelist Howe follow up Vanderbilt with an exhaustive history of the Astor family. After a failed attempt in the 1810s to open a new trading outpost in the Pacific Northwest, by the 1830s John Jacob Astor had grown the American Fur Company into one of the country’s largest business concerns, mainly by profiting off trade to Indigenous people in the American territories along the Mississippi and Canadian border, undercutting government trading posts and pushing alcohol sales. He later turned to real estate development in New York City. Subsequent generations had a long downward spiral, starting with John Jacob Astor IV’s death on the Titanic in 1912. The book ends by detailing the elder abuse case surrounding Brooke Astor, widow of Vincent Astor, a scandal that played out in the tabloids in the mid-2000s after her son by a previous marriage was accused of mistreating and exploiting her. This meticulously detailed family saga is also rich with insight into U.S. history, including revealing chapters on topics ranging from mid-19th-century populist sentiments concerning Shakespeare (the Astor Opera House staged a performance of Macbeth that was widely reviled for its high ticket price) and the early 20th-century gay scene (when the Astor Hotel became a queer rendezvous spot). History buffs and readers fascinated by the rich and famous should take note.

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