Friday, July 8, 2016

Vanderbilt's Biltmore

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Rating: 3 Stars

I have a problem when I see a book about a topic I am extremely interested in - I pretty much buy the book without much thought, if it is what appears to be a decent price. This one looked like a steal for $.99, but ended up only being 17 'pages' long. So really, probably not worth it to most people, and realistically I should probably be mad and feel duped and dumb for spending that much on it.

I don't really mind though, honestly, because the Vanderbilts are an endless source of intrigue for me, as are all the of the families we consider 'Old Money' (but were called 'New Money' at the time). There is something about the robber barons/Gilded Age that holds endless fascination for me. The fact that so many of their summer homes still exist (especially when their 5th Avenue mansions do not) makes my heart so joyous and some day I will take a trip to the East Coast to see all of them.

Biltmore is a bit different though, as it was built by George Washington Vanderbilt II (youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt and grandson of the Commodore, Cornelius Vanderbilt) as a summer home - but not in the typical location. Instead he opted for Asheville, North Carolina while his brothers and sisters built theirs in Newport and Hyde Park.

I guess my only problem with the volume is that it is so short. I was looking for maybe a combination history of the home and Vanderbilt's life? This was his home after all, you'd think that the two would be a little entwined. But this was a very brief introduction of the property. It was not a terrible book by any means, and there was a lot of interesting information but this read more like a souvenir guidebook you might buy at the property than an actual book. And maybe that is what it is meant to be. I should have paid a little more attention when BookBub tempted me with it, but all I could see was the word 'Vanderbilt' and it was over. Still, I'd recommend it for those interested in the property. It is quite beautiful and one I hope to visit in the future.

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