An Accurate Account of the “Men Who Built America” Part 7

This is the seventh in my series of posts about the five businessmen the History Channel profiled in a terribly inaccurate and un-historical TV miniseries titled The Men Who Built America. I’m writing these posts in response to several comments and e-mails from TV viewers who have expressed interest in a more accurate version of the story. (Click here to see all Al’s columns on the program and its subjects.)

Post #7: Vanderbilt Focuses on Rail

During the late 1850’s and early ’60’s Vanderbilt shifted his attention from the shipping industry to railroads. He bought large blocks of stock in several New York area railroads, often securing positions on the boards of directors. As in all his other ventures, Vanderbilt waited until other men had proven the profit-making potential of the industry before he plunged in.
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An Accurate Account of “The Men Who Built America” Part 1

The History Channel recently aired a dreadfully inaccurate mini-series called The Men Who Built America. It was billed as a historical account of the careers of businessmen Cornelius Vanderbilt, John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie, JP Morgan, and Henry Ford; but it was basically all fiction.

I love America’s great rags-to-riches success stories, so I tuned in eagerly to see how the History people would tell them. After each of the four episodes I vented my disappointment by publishing a blog post exposing some of the more glaring inaccuracies. In my post about the last episode I lamented that an honest and accurate account of this era would have been far more entertaining that the fiction History  put on the air.
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