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Families of Fortune


Never in history were greater fortunes made and spent than in the Gilded Age, a period of immense prosperity that lasted in Europe from the 1870s through 1914 and in the United States until the Crash of 1929. This beautiful and richly illustrated book traces the rise of the great robber barons around the world, and explains the alchemy by which the Rothschilds, Vanderbilts, Astors and Rockefellers, among others, rose from rags to riches thanks to monopolies, government corruption, or financial skullduggery linked to blinding ambition and a passion for hard work. But the Gilded Age was as much about making fortunes as spending them, and the author entertainingly describes the competitive castle-building, art collecting, and above all social climbing of the newly rich, who aspired to be a new aristocracy while plotting to join the closed circle of the declining ancien regime. Hide synopsis

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