For most of his life, Anderson Cooper intentionally distanced himself from the Vanderbilt dynasty his mother was born into. But after Gloria Vanderbilt’s death in 2019, Cooper, CNN anchor and New York Times bestselling author, began going through old journals, letters and Vanderbilt family documents his mother had stored away in long-forgotten boxes. Intrigued, he began researching the public and private lives of his ancestors, and when his son Wyatt was born in 2020, decided to write a book to one day help him understand this fascinating branch of his family’s history. The story of the Vanderbilts is an American epic of achievement and excess—a saga of a staggering fortune built and squandered, of high society and salacious scandals, of public fame and private pain.
As both award-winning journalist and great, great, great grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, who rose from obscurity and died the richest man in America in 1877, Anderson Cooper is uniquely qualified to tell this extraordinary family history.
Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty, written with novelist and historian Katherine Howe, chronicles the lives of some of the most remarkable members of this famous and fractured family who re-defined conspicuous consumption. Drawing on never-before-seen documents, the often-rollicking narrative spans from the eighteenth century to today, from Cornelius Vanderbilt, the son of a Staten Island ferryman, whose pursuit of money bordered on the pathological, to what remains of the Vanderbilt dynasty now.