Brooke Astor’s Biography Controvercy: Meryl Gordon Accuses Anderson Cooper Of Copying Her Work

Meryl Gordon Accuses Anderson Cooper Of Copying Her Work In Brooke Astor's Biography

Discover the controversy: Meryl Gordon, author of ‘Mrs. Astor Regrets,’ accuses CNN host Anderson Cooper of copying her work in his new book ‘Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune’ on Brooke Astor. Get the details here.

Meryl Gordon Accuses Anderson Cooper On Brooke Astor’s Biography

In a recent interview with novelist Doug Brunt on his podcast Dedicated with Doug Brunt, Meryl Gordon discussed her disappointment with Anderson’s approach to research for his upcoming book on Brooke Astor. The episode featuring Meryl Gordon’s interview became available on Tuesday, September 12, 2023. During the interview, she expressed her thoughts, stating, “Having read the book, she has very complicated feelings about it. Meryl is disappointed with Anderson’s minimal contributions to the story.”

For context, Meryl Gordon is a renowned bestselling author and an award-winning journalist known for works such as “Mrs. Astor Regrets” and “Phantom of Fifth Avenue.”

Anderson Cooper’s Pitch

Astor Place in Greenwich Village, New York, derives its name from John Jacob Astor, renowned as America’s first multi-millionaire. According to Anderson Cooper, who spoke about the Astor family’s legacy, they systematically acquired parcels of land and expansive tracts further north for generations.

Astor’s death in 1848 left him with one regret: not investing more in real estate. Cooper mentioned a famous quote attributed to Astor, stating that if given the chance, he would have put every nickel he had into New York real estate.

Astor initially accumulated his wealth through the lucrative beaver fur trade, where markups of 600%, 700%, or even 800% were common. He ventured into the wilderness to trade with Indigenous populations, as Cooper explained.By 1834, Astor’s fur trading company had become the largest business enterprise in the United States. Cooper and historian Katherine Howe, co-authors of “Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune,” slated for publication by HarperCollins, shed light on Astor’s ruthless business practices. Astor manipulated his traders, forcing them to purchase beaver pelts at inflated prices, leading them to exploit Indigenous populations during the trade.

More On What Meryl Gordon Said

Meryl, a journalism professor and bestselling author, also makes frequent contributions to Vanity Fair magazine. According to Gordon’s website, she has authored New York Times bestsellers like “Mrs. Astor Regrets” and “Phantom of Fifth Avenue,” which was a Wall Street Journal bestseller. An accomplished journalist and faculty member at New York University’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, she is recognized as an expert in “elder abuse” and has been featured on NPR, CNN, and other major media outlets in high-profile cases.

On her LinkedIn profile, it is noted that she studied at the University of Michigan. In her early career, she covered police and court beats in Cincinnati and Rochester before transitioning to become an economics writer in Washington, D.C., according to Harper Collins’ website. She currently resides in New York with her husband, Walter Shapiro, who also works as a journalist and serves as a bureau chief for


Speaking about Anderson Cooper’s book on Brooke Astor, Meryl Gordon expressed disappointment at his lack of discussion with potential sources for quotes. She mentioned, “Numerous individuals who could have provided insights were available. Philip Marshall, Brooke Astor’s grandson, confirmed that neither Anderson nor anyone involved in the book reached out to him.” Gordon concluded by stating that while Cooper didn’t commit any legal wrongdoing or plagiarism, she had higher expectations regarding research for his forthcoming book.

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