This biography analyzes Astor's rise from poor German immigrant in
1784 to the first modern millionaire--he was one before the term
millionaire entered the English language. Many consider him to be
the fourth wealthiest American of all times. After his death in
1848, the public began to discuss the responsibility of a
millionaire. Some argued that he must have been greedy and cold.
Some voices demanded that he should have given all his money back
to the United States. More liberal thinkers praised him for his
genius and vision. This biography presents a balanced picture.
Astor was the founder of the first American settlement on the
Pacific (Astoria, Oregon) and of New York's fine hotels the Astor
House and the Waldorf-Astoria, as well as a developer of the
American West and a fur trader. Many American cities and sites are
named after him. He donated the Astor Library to the city of New
York (it became the first public library of the city), now part of
the New York Public Library.
McFarland & Company
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