The concept was simple, to link American railroads and global dominance of the seas with a railroad line through China and Russia, enter the back door of Europe, and create new royalty: the Transportation Kings. Vanderbilt, Hill, Morgan, and Harriman all pursued the grand dream. They were America's industrial princes, poised for their greatest accomplishments, only to find that they had t considered the gauntlet awaiting them in the courts of kings and Kaisers, parliaments and congress. They awoke John Bull and helped precipitate revolution in China. They brought about the building of Lusitania and, in reaction, they owned and built the Titanic. We all kw how the disaster story ends; this is how the story came about.
Steven H. Gittelman has served as president of the Board of Trustees at The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum for fifteen years. In his previous book, Gittelman followed his subject around the world to fashion his biography of Willie K. Vanderbilt. During that search, an obscure article in the New York Times provided him with a thread that unraveled this fascinating tale of the men who aspired global transportation dominance and how each one chased his own version of the dream, only to taste bitter failure.