The first Astor's thinking and practices were those of a Federalist aristocrat. As such he was against government interference in private enterprise and also the war of 1812, which constituted a threat to his property and profits. A favorite Astor maxim was: ""No one ever made any money giving it away to the poor"". Money was the sole end for which he worked; his activity in religious and masonic affairs stemmed from business reasons and his only affection was reserved for his family. The book, while deploring his attitudes, glorifies Astor as the author of an economic scheme more vital, dynamic and momentous than any carried forward by one man in the history of America. Pertinacious, pertinent historical coverage of a figure whose influence persists.