Katherine Howe

Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune

A History Camp Discussion with Katherine Howe about one of the most wealthy and well-known American families. The story of the Astors is one of ambition, invention, destruction, and reinvention. The family fortune, first made by a beaver trapping business in the late eighteenth that grew into an empire, was then amplified by holdings in Manhattan real estate. Over the ensuing generations, Astors ruled Gilded Age New York society and inserted themselves into political and cultural life, but also suffered the most famous loss on the Titanic, one of many shocking and unexpected twists in the family’s story. In this unconventional, compelling historical biography, authors Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe chronicle the lives of the Astors and explore what the Astor name has come to mean in America—offering a window onto the making of America itself.

[Recorded November 2, 2023]

History Camp Authors

    America's Summer Roadtrip 2020

      Katherine Howe is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, The House of Velvet and Glass, and Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty with Anderson Cooper, as well as several young adult novels. She served as editor of The Penguin Book of Witches and her fiction has been translated into over twenty languages. Descended from three women who were tried for witchcraft in Salem, she lives and sails with her family in New England. Her forthcoming novel A TRUE ACCOUNT: Hannah Masury’s Sojourn Amongst the Pyrates, Written by Herself will be published by Henry Holt on November 21.

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