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    Poor Astor, afflicted by his great fortune

    “He seems, poor man, afflicted by the possession of a fortune.”A comment by an acquaintance about John Jacob Astor (1763-1848), the wealthiest American of his generation. Biographer Axel Madsen describes how German-born Astor rose from poverty to wealth by means of hard work and risk taking — in addition to lying, cheating, political bribery and being a war profiteer, slumlord and opium trader. Astor was also something of a miser who found no great joy in his life from his great wealth.

    Notes from Axel Madsen, John Jacob Astor (2001).

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