Check out the First Tycoon page on this website for a new essay about the discoveries I made in the course of researching The First Tycoon.
Cornelius Vanderbilt had an enormously long and influential life, yet he has been the subject of relatively little in-depth research. Over the years of working on my biography of the man, I came across a great deal that was previously unknown. That's fairly rare in a biography of a major (let alone iconic) figure. Usually, as a biographer, you hope to tell a life story in a new and more interesting way, and to provide a new interpretation that casts that life in a different light. I certainly didn't expect to come across so many raw facts that had never surfaced before.