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A New War Begins 

Out of the turmoil of the Civil War, America enters an age of enlightenment that will change the landscape of the country forever. The growth is driven by five insightful men who will change the world forever.

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Himself - Owner, Dallas Mavericks
T.J. Stiles ...
Himself - Vanderbilt Biographer
Himself - Former Hedge Fund Manager
H.W. Brands ...
Himself - Historian
Himself - Former CEO, General Electric
Himself - Advertising Mogul
Himself - Former Chairman, Federal Reserve
Steve Case ...
Himself - Co-Founder, AOL
Himself - Media Mogul
Ron Perelman ...
Himself - Business Magnate
Himself - Real Estate Mogul (as Donald Trump)
Himself - Majority Owner, Viacom & CBS
Himself - Co-Founder, Def Jam
Jay Rockefeller ...
Himself - U.S. Senator (as John D. Rockefeller IV)


While Carnegie and Rockefeller continue to battle, JP Morgan arrives on the scene and establishes a bank in New York City that has one goal: to further the technological advancements of America. Morgan s first investment is in Thomas Edison s new development--Edison has developed electric light. Written by Anonymous

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TV-PG | See all certifications »


Release Date:

16 October 2012 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Early on a locomotive is shown, but it is the kind that was used in Europe. American railroads used locomotives with a different, less streamlined front. See more »

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User Reviews

Vanderbilt and Rockefeller
13 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

This is the first episode of the mini-series "The Men Who Built America"--a show that celebrates the great and powerful barons on American industry of the 19th and early 20th century. Like all the subsequent episodes, this one consists of narration, lots of experts as well as LOTS of gorgeous re-creations. These re-creations impressed me the most, as I was surprised how good they looked for a History Channel show. Using CGI and lots of costumed actors, the show manages to show these folks' lives in the most vivid and convincing manner. As a result, it's a simply beautiful show.

The main subjects of this show is Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt and John D. Rockefeller. The first half is exclusively about Vanderbilt and shows how he used his grief following the loss of his son in the Civil War to fight against his perceived business enemies. Selling off much of his shipping business and investing in railroads, he's soon the most powerful and richest man in America.

How does Rockefeller play into this? Well, for a while the two are in business together--Vanderbilt's railroads transporting Rockefeller's oil. However, over time, Rockefeller goes from a poor partner to the wealthiest man in the world. How Rockefeller does this is interesting as well as his relatives admitting that he was a great businessman AND morally reprehensible.

Overall, a well crafted and fascinating show about these important businessmen.

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