The Vanderbilt Era

by Louis Auchincloss. Scribners, $19.95. Mr. Auchincloss makes no claim to deep research, profound analysis, or new revelations in his “profiles of a gilded age.”He writes with urbane charm about the ornaments (and sometimes the embarrassments) of New York society at the turn of the century, and one has the impression of listening to an actual survivor of that conscientiously flamboyant period.