How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America’s Most Famous Military Adventurer
‘A terrific read… A fascinating window into an era when the rules of industrial capitalism were in their infancy and gunboat diplomacy was standard operating procedure… Dando-Collins tells this tale well, bringing the events and the personalities to vivid life’ – Wall Street Journal, USA
‘Stephen Dando-Collins did his homework in this tale of guns-trump-butter capitalism’ – Dallas Morning News, USA
‘Dando-Collins has again spun a gem of a tale’ – Augusta Metro Spirit, USA
‘An insightful look at American history’ – Military Heritage Magazine, USA
‘Dando-Collins’ efficient prose sweeps the reader along’ – Providence Journal, USA
‘An excellent book’ – California Territorial Quarterly, USA
‘Compelling’ – Southwest Journal of Cultures, USA
‘A page-turning history lesson in greed and folly’ – Milwaukee Shepard Express, USA
‘A genuinely thrilling book’ – InfoDad.com, USA
A Tale Of Monumental Folly, And Monumental Greed
When Nashville-born William Walker was 12, he entered university. When New Yorker Cornelius Vanderbilt was 12, he was already working for a living, having left school the previous year. The two men could not have been more different. But both wanted the same thing – control of Nicaragua.
Walker would be able to claim that he became President of Nicaragua.. briefly, in 1856. But Vanderbilt would die with more money than the US Treasury.
As United Press International has pointed out when discussing Stephen Dando-Collins’ Tycoon’s War, this book ‘brings to light an aspect of Walker’s career that has not been well appreciated, his conflict with America’s richest man, Cornelius Vanderbilt.’
Walker, in making himself ruler of Nicaragua, at the head of a band of American mercenaries, took Vanderbilt’s then most profitable business from the shipping magnate, threatening the great man’s empire. It was an act that prompted Vanderbilt to go to war against Walker and the thousands of young Americans who flooded down to Nicaragua to fight for Walker.
Vanderbilt had money and street cunning on his side. Walker had popular US opinion on his. But we all know that money always trumps idealism. How could Walker, a brilliant young man who was a doctor by 18, have been so foolish to think he could outwit the magnate?
The war between the millionaire and the would-be emperor of Central America would cost tens of thousands of lives – American lives, and the lives of the people of the five Central American countries that Vanderbilt embroiled in the war.
Stephen Dando-Collins’ sympathy lies not with Vanderbilt, nor with Walker. His sympathy lies with the common people of Central America, the pawns of ambitious and greedy men, and with the young Americans who were duped into throwing away their lives for Walker.
Once again, it is the depth of the Dando-Collins research, and his gift for bringing history alive, that has made this another unforgettable work.
Using the first-hand accounts of many of the players in this drama, the author takes the reader on an exciting but deadly journey to a Central America of beautiful women, palm trees, and volcanoes, and a Central America of betrayal, yellow fever, and firing squads.
That the story told in Tycoon’s War is true only makes it all the more incredible.
Da Capo Press. Hardcover. ISBN 978-0-306-81607-9.
Paperback. ISBN 978-0-306-81856-1. Released in September, 2009.