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1. John Jacob Astor: America's First
2. John Jacob Astor: And the Fur
3. John Jacob Astor: Business and
4. Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprize

1. John Jacob Astor: America's First Multimillionaire
by Axel Madsen
Hardcover: 304 Pages (2001-01-19)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$7.39
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0471385034
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Book Description
On The Deal Maker: How William C. Durant Made General Motors:
"A well-written biography."-New York Times

On Stanwyck: The Life and Times of Barbara Stanwyck:
"Madsen's admirably researched, insightful portrait of her aloof nature . . . reveals she was always torn between her wish to give of herself and her need to be in control."-Christian Science Monitor

On Chanel: A Woman of Her Own:
"Fascinating . . . . Takes the reader behind the coromandel veneers of Chanel's life."-New York Times Book Review
"Carefully knits together the complex pattern of Chanel's complicated existence.It's not an easy task."-Toronto Globe and Mail

On Gloria and Joe:
"Axel Madsen finally gives the public a fascinating chronicle of the romance that could have ruined more than two careers."-Dallas Morning News

On Cousteau:
"Both critical and understanding. And it is exceptionally readable. Readers are well advised to take the plunge."-Chicago Tribune

On Malraux:
"Will stand as the best of more than a dozen books about Malraux in print."-Kansas City StarDownload Description
A riveting biography of John Jacob Astor, the first American multinational entrepreneur ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars JOHN ASTOR

3-0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting.
John Jacob Astor led the life most people do not even dare to dream about. He was a serial entrepreneur at a time when most of the world was composed of farmers. He was so successful at his businesses that when he died he controlled one-fifteenth of all personal wealth in the United States! Among many other things it is safe to say he was a very driven man.

Born in relative poverty in Germany, he immigrated to the United States via England, arriving just after the Revolutionary War ended. Marrying the daughter of the woman who ran his boarding house in New York, his business career moves from the importing of musical instruments to the exporting of furs. So successful is he in the fur business that he is able to finance the establishment of the first American fort in Oregon and supports this effort with his own ships via Cape Horn. Returning east overland, his employees discover the route that subsequently becomes the Oregon Trail!

This is a swashbuckler of a story which spans not just the North American Continent but the global economy as it existed in his day as well. Besides furs, he traded tea, seal skins, opium and assorted other commodities through global wars and economic recession on a scale to match the great trading houses of England, the British East India Company and the Hudson Bay Company. He was a man who took huge business risks. A key focus of the book is naturally the fur trade, the dominant wealth generator of its time. This was his first truly big score, one that he engaged in for over 20 years and the primary venture through which he amasses the fortune that provided the investment capital for all the endeavors which would follow.

Alex Madsen does an excellent job of fitting Astor within the economic and political time period in which he lived. I have found information here on the fur trade I have found nowhere else. This is a very well researched book; one that not only reports on the biography of the life lived but the history of the time as well. There is a lot to appreciate here. It is a book well worth the time.

3-0 out of 5 stars This book was good, at best
I bought this book to learn about Astor and how he made his fortunes.The book goes into almost too much depth in regards to the fortune made in fur trading and shipping.Out of the 25 chapters, 23 were discussing nearly every detail of Astor, his men, indians, and his competition in regards to trading and shipping.In chapter 23, the author finally gets to where he claims Astor made his largest fortune, real estate.Since that is where he made the bulk of his fortune, then why did the author only devote one chapter to this topic?Most people who buy this book will do so to learn how Astor made his fortune, that is not explained well enough.I have to give the author credit, though, he did uncover many details that the other Astor biographers failed to see.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of fur trade, little of Real Estate.
Madsen takes the reader through an interesting account of the early fur trade and the opening of the American West. There areinteresting anecdotes from Astor's deaings with historical and political figures of the time. However, if you are looking for information on his later business dealings and the development of Astor into New York's largest property owner and landlord then you will be disappointed. Nine tenths of his book is devoted to the development of the American Fur Company and the travials of those who forged through the wild countryside on Astors behalf. There is nothing in this book about how he dealt with tenants, advertised properties, developed systems of management for properties, financing, leverage, nothing.
So buy it for an interesting histort of the time but don't buy it if your looking for information on how one of the great Real Estate investors of his time developed and managed his system of success.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nobody is Home in Madsen's new Biography
Perhaps I should not write a review of this book as I did not finish it.I found the subject--Astor, who he was, what he did, and how and why he did it--very interesting, but Madsen's treatment an example of biography at its worst.Why?Because we are presented with the data of Astor's life, but where is Astor?There is virtually nothing communicated as to what type of person he was, WHY he was so ambitious, what he felt and thought about the various activities he undertook, his successes, relative failures, etc.In many instances of course the available data of his life do not necessarily communicate the subjective life of the psyche, only the objective actions.But it is the very task of a biographer--in my view the most vital task--to artfully connect the various "dots" ofdata so as to reveal the subjective life within, the drama of the mind and heart reacting to events as the events unfold.You don't get that here. ... Read more

2. John Jacob Astor: And the Fur Trade (Parker, Lewis K. American Tycoons.)
by Lewis K. Parker
Library Binding: 24 Pages (2003-08)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$19.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0823964477
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3. John Jacob Astor: Business and Finance in the Early Republic (Great Lakes Books)
by John D. Haeger
 Hardcover: 365 Pages (1991-05)
list price: US$39.95
Isbn: 0814318762
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4. Astoria, or Anecdotes of an Enterprize Beyond the Rocky Mountains
by Washington Irving
 Paperback: 374 Pages (1982-09-01)
list price: US$27.00 -- used & new: US$18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0803274505
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Editorial Review

Book Description

In 1811 a group of American traders built a fort at the mouth of the Columbia River, named Fort Astoria in honor of its financier, John Jacob Astor. Envisioned as the spur of a fur-trading empire, by 1813 the project was a business failure and the fort was surrendered to the British. But in its short life Astoria rendered incalculable benefits to public understanding of the Great Northwest. The exploration of trade routes, the description of various Indian tribes and their customs, and an American claim on the Northwest coast were among many of its legacies.

Astor never relinquished his pride in the enterprise and insisted that the West would one day be a dominating factor in national politics. To drive his point home he asked Washington Irving, the country's most renowned and respected author, to transform the papers of Fort Astoria into a unified and readable history. Irving accepted the offer and published Astoria in 1836.

From its first appearance--when it was hailed by no less a reviewer than Edgar Allan Poe--to the present day, Astoria has been read as a vivid and fascinating history, comparable indeed to the finest of romances, but rooted in the rough and hardy life of trapping, hunting, and exploration.

The text of this edition is approved by the Center for editions of American Authors, Modern Language Association of America.

Download Description
The success of the Northwest Company stimulated further enterprise in this opening and apparently boundless field of profit. The traffic of that company lay principally in the high northern latitudes, while there were immense regions to the south and west, known to abound with valuable peltries; but which, as yet, had been but little explored by the fur trader. ... Read more

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