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Anderson Cooper and Katherine Rowe, Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty

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Fri, 09/24/2021 - 3:00pm
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Join us on zoom for what's sure to be a fascinating conversation between the co-authors of Vanderbilt! Each ticket comes with a copy of Vanderbilt.


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.

This clear-eyed appraisal of the true nature of wealth also provides a larger context for the social mores the Vanderbilts observed, flouted, and sometimes even shaped. “The United States, a country founded on anti-royalist principles, would, only twenty years after its revolutionary burst into existence, produce the progenitor of a family that would come to hold itself up as American royalty, with the titles and palaces to prove it,” Cooper and Howe write. “But their empire would last for less than a hundred years before collapsing under its own weight, destroying itself with its own pathology.”
Vanderbilt marks the start of a new series by Cooper and Howe, with the next book to come in 2023. 

Anderson Cooper is an anchor at CNN and a correspondent for CBS’ 60 Minutes. Cooper has won 18 Emmys and numerous other major journalism awards. He has written two books which topped the New York Times bestsellers list. Dispatches From The Edge – A Memoir of Wars, Disasters, and Survival and The Rainbow Comes and Goes, which he co-wrote with his mother, Gloria Vanderbilt. Cooper lives in New York with his son, Wyatt. 

Katherine Howe is a novelist and historian of America. She holds a BA in art history and philosophy from Columbia and an MA in American and New England Studies from Boston University, where she also did doctoral work. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and The House of Velvet and Glass, as well as the young adult novels Conversion and The Appearance of Annie van Sinderen. She served as editor of The Penguin Book of Witches. She has appeared on NPR, National Geographic, Smithsonian TV, the Travel Channel, and Good Morning America. She lives with her family in New England and New York City.

Tickets are $33 (local pick up) and $35 (shipped). Not international shipments at this time.

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062964618
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - September 21st, 2021