Shipping and railroad magnate Cornelius Vanderbilt has been described as combative. Author T.J. Stiles found court records that showed Vanderbilt engaged in fist-fights and won into his 50s. In his book, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Stiles tells Steve Inskeep that Vanderbilt was as ruthless as he was principled — and, while amassing an unrivaled fortune in American history, he pioneered many of the foundations of the economy we know today.
Pugilistic Tycoon: Vanderbilt Jabs His Way To The Top
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