Teri's Reviews > The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

The First Tycoon by T.J. Stiles
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Nov 29, 2016

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bookshelves: read-in-2016, hbc-bom

This is a very, very, very exhaustive and detailed tome on Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt. He was quite a man and a pioneer in the steamship and railroad business. Considered one of the robber barons of the gilded age, Vanderbilt made friends and enemies on his rise to the top of the financial and transportation business. He was a smart and cunning man. You either loved or hated him depending on which side of the deal you were on. He was a powerful man and he deserves a powerful biography. This is it!

Stiles follows Vanderbilt from the time he started working for his father running an import / export business on an old sailboat through his time building paddle boats and steamships, building a route from Nicaragua to California during the gold rush, moving into the railroad business and to his death at the age of 82. He almost died many times due to crashes and ill health, but he rallied each time and persevered through to be one of the richest men in the world.

This book really deserves a higher rating, but it was too much for me at the time I was reading it. I appreciate the details. Stiles was well researched and it shows. I will certainly take a stab at his other works, but for this reading, I found myself struggling to stay interested and often found my mind wondering at times.
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Reading Progress

March 4, 2016 – Shelved
March 4, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 31, 2016 – Started Reading
November 27, 2016 – Finished Reading
November 29, 2016 – Shelved as: read-in-2016
December 31, 2016 – Shelved as: hbc-bom

Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Pruning can make the difference between an enjoyable read and one you slog through. While detail is nice when it's overdone the reader suffers. You persevered to the end where most might have quit. Good review. :-)


Teri Sarah wrote: "Pruning can make the difference between an enjoyable read and one you slog through. While detail is nice when it's overdone the reader suffers. You persevered to the end where most might have quit...."

I was moderating the book for a book of the month discussion so I needed to finish it. I think if I had more time to spend on it and soaking it all in, I would have enjoyed it more. It is a well written book and people that love that level of detail will enjoy it.


message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Thanks for the feedback. I'll check it out. I can see how the time constraints would be a factor. It sounds like this is a book you'd want to soak up in small doses.


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