Willie K. Vanderbilt II

A Biography

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About the Book

The Vanderbilts were one of the great American families of the industrial era. This book explores the life of one of its lesser-known scions of the fourth generation, William Kissam Vanderbilt II, known simply as Willie K. An inheritor, not a builder, Willie K. lacked the drive and ambition necessary for furthering the Vanderbilt dynasty, especially in the political atmosphere of bank failures, the dawn of progressivism, and the First World War. This biography, while the story of one man, is also an exploration of the burden of enormous wealth, the danger of inherited dreams, and the struggle for self-actualization regardless of wealth or social status.

About the Author(s)

Steven H. Gittelman is president of a market research company in New York and serves on the board of the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.

Bibliographic Details

Steven Gittelman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 58 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4777-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5823-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. Accidental Heir      5

2. Two      12

3. Trial by Fire      24

4. Meeting of Giants      28

5. Autofat      32

6. Commodore      42

7. All Hail the King of Deepdale      51

8. The Scapegoat      61

9. The Carnage      72

10. The Vanderbilt Cup      77

11. An Empire Implodes      95

12. The Speedway      99

13. Bailout      110

14. Overextended      117

15. Harbor Me      125

16. A Fatal Accident of Sorts      128

17. Railroad Man      138

18. A Different Wind Blows      142

19. The Enchanted Isles      149

20. Fifteen Thousand Miles Away      165

21. We Know Who Put the Bang in “Sabang”!      172

22. The God of Palm Island      182

23. Weep No More      198

24. The Advancement of Science      206

25. Flying Lanes      208

26. Repose      212

Epilogue      218

Chapter Notes      227

Bibliography      241

Index      251