Fortune's Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt -  II Vanderbilt, Arthur T.

Annoyances: perhaps due to being a digital copy, maybe computer glitch?, but a lot of the lower case Ls were replaced by 1s and random Ys were replaced with Ts. There were at least two incidences of garbled letter clumps (tanscription error? Data corruption?) and many apostophes and quotation marks were turned the wrong way, so... annoying... to look at. And once seen it cannot be unseen.


The last 1/4 of the book is the notes, etc. The first 1/3 was the most interesting related primarily to the first two or three Vanderbilt patriarchs. At least two chapters were spent on people and events that absolutely nothing to do with the Vanderbilt family except as distant background for the culture and society of the Gilded Age. Seemed like padding or just word filler to me, even if there were a couple amusing anecdotes. Most of the remaining book was how the women who married into the family blew millions trying be society queens and how the increasingly disparate family members fought over inheritances.


The majority of the book is lifted straight out of newspaper articles, sources cited in text, and so on. There are also weird pseudo-fictiobal conversations recorded that seem like one person with a multiple personality disorder talking with themselves, by which I mean there is no difference in tone between the voices. A historical fiction based on the truth might have been more enjoyable.


I can only imagine that the author's name being Vanderbilt is supposed to lend some sort of credence to the book. The only positive contribution might have been access to family documents or stories forgotten by the public.