click to enlarge
So Glass-Steagall gets revoked, a new Gilded Age
is proclaimed and everything comes crashing down. These are the Days of Our Lives. Which makes this about as good a time as any to deliver a biography on Cornelius Vanderbilt, the original robber-baron, second richest American of all time
and namesake of Nashville's most prestigious university.
The New York Times
calls T.J. Stiles' The First Tycoon
"more piquant than any 600-word book has a right to be." Which sounds like a compliment until you realize that in the same time it takes to learn about the Commodore's great steamboat wars of the early 19th century you could read an entire Dean Koontz trilogy. (And after last year's The Bad Place
, who wouldn't want to do that?!)
We realize Vanderbilt's connection to Nashville is in name only. But if you only read one Yellowpage-sized biography of a historical figure with (extremely shallow) ties to Tennessee, take Tycoon
over American Lion
, the equally weighty look at duel-happy Andrew Jackson. Word is, one Scene
editor used Lion
as an Ambien replacement for a month before giving up halfway through
Bonus Stiles: His short (and true) story
about the inscription his great-great-grandfather made in Lincoln's watch. Worth the read.