Tycoon's War details the rivalry - verging on war - between Cornelius Vanderbilt and William Walker.
Vanderbilt was a self-made financial wizard who used questionable tactics to amass his fortune. Much less well-known but no less fascinating was Walker, who held degrees in law and medicine and became the president of Nicaragua after having been the head of his own hand-trained mercenary group.
Despite being brilliant - he learned Greek and Latin before he was twelve - and tough (mercenary), Walker met his match when he tried to prevent Vanderbilt from cornering the market on a Nicaraguan canal system. To fight fire with fire, Vanderbilt hired his own mercenaries. This tug-of-war ended with William Walker’s execution by firing squad four years after he had the temerity to cross Vanderbilt.
Dando-Collins does an excellent job of turning his dedicated research into an easy-to-read narrative of the corruption, greed and murder that Vanderbilt epitomized in his quest to be a rich old goat. Tycoon's War is a frightening glimpse behind the façade of Cornelius Vanderbilt.