Strange qualities, found in only a few men, produce the kind of power our with riches instead of statues."" In the fullness of time, Cornelius Vanderbilt II. The Commodore -- acquired the power, the riches, and even the statue (). He was a completely self-made, self-willed man who through his hardworking life created the possibility for members of his family to play leading in American Society with a capital S. Beginning as a proprietor of a freight craft in New York Harbor, oblige to help support his parents, he competed wildly and successfully in steamships, railroads, and large-scale finance, without so much as a complete grammar school education. For all the satisfaction his fortune may have brought him, he was unable imbue his family with any particular concepts of the source of wealth, and within a few years of his death the assets upon which he had hoped to found a dynasty had been dispersed among the many members of the clan and largely dissipated by them. The spectacular career of The Commodore, and the subsequent family failure to live up to his ambitions, are part of the saga of the first real wave of American industrial expansion. Mr. Hoyt's subject has a momentum of his own: the real-life excitement of the world of business and finance is a better plot than that of any novel. The best praise for the biographer of a man like Vanderbilt consists in saying that he injects the barest minimum of popular evaluation into his treatment of a tycoon envied and feared by lesser men Halftones; index. It could be a companion volume to Richard O'Connor's Gould's Million (also Doubleday p. 1035).