Read Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer by Stephen Dando-Collins Free Online


Ebook Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer by Stephen Dando-Collins read! Book Title: Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer
The author of the book: Stephen Dando-Collins
Date of issue: August 26th 2008
ISBN: 0306816075
ISBN 13: 9780306816079
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.31 MB
Edition: Da Capo Press

Read full description of the books Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer:

I knew the basic story from MacPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, and, not knowing much about William Walker, I thought this would be interesting.

The ground here is so fertile; it's a shame that Stephen Dando-Collins does approximately nothing with it. We start with one of the coolest lines in the history of capitalism -- a letter from a tycoon to his erstwhile business partners:

"Gentlemen, you have undertaken to cheat me. I won't sue you, for the law is too slow. I'll ruin you. Yours truly, Cornelius Vanderbilt."

The story of wrongs avenged gets better. Because while Vanderbilt's partners are scamming him, the American William Walker is trying to take over Nicaragua. Vanderbilt needs Nicaragua; the gold rush is heating up in California, and Vanderbilt wants to shuttle passengers from the east coast to the west. Without a railroad or a Panama Canal, the quickest way to do this had been to send them around the southern tip of South America. Vanderbilt had another idea: send boats through the Caribbean to Nicaragua, get on the San Juan River at Greytown, follow the San Juan to Lake Nicaragua, use mules to cover a small strip of ground between the Lake and San Juan Del Sur, and dump them out onto the Pacific. From there, the trip up to California is comparatively short.

There will be conflict eventually. On the one side we have Walker, the American "filibuster" (a term meaning something like "treasure-seeking cowboy" before it meant "reading from the phone book for 72 consecutive hours"), hoping to carve out a new nation under his tutelage in South America. On the other we have a ruthless businessman who needs Walker's territory to make his money. While Vanderbilt plots his enemies' destruction, Walker draws thousands upon thousands of Americans down from the north into his private army and names himself president of Nicaragua. How do those thousands of Americans get there? They need to take ships, obviously. The collision course is set.

Unfortunately, Dando-Collins does as little as possible with these promising materials, and by the end of "Tycoon's War" he reminds us how little he's done with them. For instance: one might want to know what motivates Walker to do what he does. Is it money? Fame? Power? You'd think that in a book ostensibly about "America's Most Famous Military Adventurer," his motivations would be weaved into most every page of the book. Yet Dando-Collins saves them for the end, in a couple-page-long chapter entitled "The Protagonists' Motives."

Dando-Collins wants us to believe that Walker was hugely important within American history. He may well be, but nothing Dando-Collins tells us would suggest so. The best he can come up with is to note that "To this day, there is an historical marker honoring Walker outside the Nashville house where he was born and grew up." Mt. Rushmore it isn't.

The unfortunate reality seems to be that Dando-Collins is a William Walker fanboy. Near "The Protagonists' Motives," we get this: "Throughout Central America today, Walker's name ranks with that of Hitler and Stalin." That is the sole unflattering line about Walker in the book's 342 pages, and it takes 334 pages to get there. The reader is not equipped to understand why Central Americans might view Walker that way.

We can at least hope for solid military history. "Tycoon's War" is a reasonably engaging on that score, and indeed that seems to be the only part of "Tycoon's War" that really interests Dando-Collins. He mostly lets the Walker biography, the Vanderbilt biography, the broader story of the U.S.'s role in this hemisphere, and the clash-of-titans aspects drop.

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Ebook Tycoon's War: How Cornelius Vanderbilt Invaded a Country to Overthrow America's Most Famous Military Adventurer read Online! Stephen Dando-Collins is an award-winning author whose 40th book will be published in 2017. His work includes children's novels and biographies, with the bulk of his books dealing with military history ranging from Greek and Roman times to American 19th century history and World I and Word War II, the next being THE BIG BREAK: The Greatest American WWII POW Escape Story Never Told. Many of his books have been translated into foreign languages including Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Albanian and Korean. Considered an authority on the legions of ancient Rome, his most recent work on the subject, 2012's LEGIONS OF ROME, is the culmination of decades of research into the individual imperial legions. As he has with THE BIG BREAK, Dando-Collins aims to travel roads that others have not, unearthing new facts and opening new perspectives on often forgotten or overlooked aspects of history. Lieutenant Colonel Dave Grossman, author of On Combat and On Killing, describes Dando-Collins as 'a Cornelius Ryan (A Bridge Too Far), a Stephen Ambrose (Band of Brothers), for a new generation.'



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