Miss Kavaler here departs from her usual molds although this family history has the same sharp focus as her microscopic studies. Beginning with John Jacob I, a penniless German immigrant whose music shop took in furs on the side, she traces the development of a fortune that included so much real estate that son William was nicknamed ""the landlord of Manhattan."" The Astors would lease the land, then increase the rents after buildings had been erected--a highly profitable practice that ultimately victimized the tenement dwellers. The first few men, after World War I, were relatively bland personally although succeeding sons were noted for substantial excesses. Ironically, the two women worthy of individual chapters--the Mrs. Astor and Lady Nancy--married into the family. A must for ""400"" followers, readable enough to bank on for others.