The Life and Ventures of the Original John Jacob Astor

Read by LibriVox Volunteers

(4 stars; 6 reviews)

John Jacob Astor was pre-eminently the opener of new paths, a breaker of trails. From his first tramp alone through the Black Forest of Baden, at sixteen, his life never lost this typical touch. In America, both shores of the Hudson, and the wilderness to the Northwest knew his trail. The trees of the forests west of the Mississippi were blazed by his hunters and trappers; and his partners and agents planted through this vast region the flag of the American Fur Company. The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans were invisibly lined by the path of his vessels. His were the first American ships to habitually circle the globe, trading around the earth. With his far-sighted vision withdrawn from distant scenes, and centered on Manhattan Island, he led the way toward the upbuilding of the largest, and most important city in the new world. (Summary from book's Foreword) (7 hr 30 min)


00 - Foreword 7:18 Read by Pamela Krantz
01 - A Pivotal Day 8:06 Read by Phil Chenevert
02 - The Forest Village on the Old Roman Road 10:59 Read by Guero
03 - The Village School and the Old Church Bells 7:33 Read by Julia Niedermaier
04 - Waiting Years 8:51 Read by rookieblue
05 - John Helffrich's Journal 12:20 Read by rookieblue
06 - Leaving Home 7:31 Read by rookieblue
07 - England and America 14:38 Read by Ruth Golding
08 - America 10:53 Read by Kajo
09 - Beginning the Fur Business 11:13 Read by Guero
10 - New York a Little City 8:08 Read by Guero
11 - Starting in Business for Himself 9:40 Read by dwarner30uk
12 - John Jacob Astor's Home and Family 9:21 Read by dwarner30uk
13 - Independence Day While It was New 11:30 Read by rookieblue
14 - Traversing the Wilderness 16:23 Read by laurencetrask
15 - By Canoe Through the Great Lakes 19:15 Read by laurencetrask
16 - Extending the Fur Trade 11:06 Read by dwarner30uk
17 - The East India Pass No. 68 13:02 Read by dwarner30uk
18 - A New Century 12:20 Read by dwarner30uk
19 - A Vision that Crossed a Continent 14:00 Read by dwarner30uk
20 - The Voyage of the Tonquin 24:19 Read by dwarner30uk
21 - Over the Rockies to Astoria 32:18 Read by dwarner30uk
22 - Carrying Dispatches to Mr. Astor 18:31 Read by dwarner30uk
23 - England's Trophy 31:07 Read by dwarner30uk
24 - John Jacob Astor and the War of 1812 12:26 Read by dwarner30uk
25 - Landlord and Airlord 16:19 Read by Xela99
26 - The Astor Family 11:16 Read by Marie Hoffman
27 - The Astorhaus 9:53 Read by VO Boy
28 - Homes and Neighbors 12:15 Read by VO Boy
29 - Literary Friends and Business Companions 14:31 Read by DPranitis
30 - Writing "Astoria" 18:16 Read by dwarner30uk
31 - Founding the Astor Library 13:55 Read by DPranitis
32 - Gathering the Threads Together 11:16 Read by Pamela Krantz



(5 stars)

This book spans the whole length of John Jacob Astor’s life from his childhood in Germany raised by French Heugonauts to his yearning to go to America, to that fortunate trip icebound on a ship where he first learns about the fur trade through many many more facets and events in his life. I especially appreciated learning that he was so successful because he treated the people he traded with in an honest, fair and respectful manner. The account of the Pacific Fur Company and the establishment of Astoria filled in many of the gaps I have been wondering about for years (having been born and raised in Oregon). Fascinating. Should be required listening in schools.