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Real People/Real Stories: “Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune” (WL)

January 18 @ 2:00 pm


Real People/Real Stories meets the third Thursday of each month to explore the best in nonfiction history, biography, science, nature, and the arts. This month’s title is Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe.

In 1783, John Jacob Astor moved to the United States and parlayed his investments in the fur trade and New York City real estate to become the country’s first multi-millionaire. This historical biography tells the story of John Jacob and his descendants, who often had an outsized influence on the political and cultural life of New York City.

“A worthy companion to superstar journalist Cooper’s and novelist Howe’s bestselling account of Cooper’s own family, Vanderbilt. Once again, the authors offer an engaging, multigenerational story that is factual and nuanced…. Another nonfiction winner from the duo.” — Booklist (starred review)

“A lively, well-written and satisfyingly detailed account of the family that came to own New York…. Astor provides a fascinating history of the city, from the populist riots in 1849 stirred up by a production of Macbeth at the Astor Opera House to the gay scene that thrived for decades in the bar of the Astor Hotel that once stood on Broadway at 44th Street.” — Wall Street Journal

“A must-read…. Cooper and Howe dig into one of the United States’ most influential families and a parable of capitalism, commerce, and greed that established an American way of life.” — Entertainment Weekly


Stryker Center at the Williamsburg Regional Library
412 N. Boundary Street
Williamsburg, VA 23185 United States
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