A very complete history of the Vanderbilt family, thoroughly documented, easily written, but with little attempt at analysis of individuals. The history is a financial and social one; sotto voce on the less reputable meanderings of the offspring. One third of the book is centered on the Commodore, a hardbiting, hard-driving old curmudgeon, gaining monopoly of the water traffic and the railroads. Then William H. who inherited 90 millions and doubled it. Then the son, and his socially shrewd wife, and with this generation, the Vanderbilts break into society, and start the pattern of yachts, horses, terrapin and champagne. The last third of the book takes up their children and their children's children -- a surfeit of unbounded dollar making and spending, but a thorough going portrait of a family and their activities. Will have some snob appeal, though the gossip element is carefully toned down.