Rich Man, Poor Man Paperback – 1 Feb 1987
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Irwin Shaw's classic novel is about the American dream - as it begins in the struggles of an immigrant father and as it continues in the next generation's search for grace. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Irwin Shaw was born in New York in 1913 and began his literary career writing short stories, and plays for the stage and radio. During World War Two he served in North Africa, the Middle East and all over Europe, and it was after the war that he achieved widespread acclaim with his first novel, The Young Lions. Irwin Shaw wrote more than a dozen novels, all of which became worldwide bestsellers. A number of his books have also found success as feature films and TV serials, and they have been translated into twenty languages. Irwin Shaw died in 1984. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's great to read the original saga of the Jordache family from Port Philip, New York from the pen of the late Irwin Shaw. It's interesting to note that the character of Julie, portrayed by Susan Blakely on TV, was developed from 3 characters in this book - one of the main characters being Gretchen, who was Rudy and Tom's older sister.
If you saw the mini-series adaptation first you still won't be disappointed to read about the origins of the characters and events in this novel, and by the time you have reached the fateful month of July in 1968 the book will have already taken it's pride of place on your best-sellers' bookshelf.
From New York to Hollywood to the Cote d'Azure, it's a whirlwind story that also describes the changing social and cultural times in America, from the end of one war leading to the early years of another one. "Rich Man, Poor Man" depicts how the 'American Dream' could still be achieved without the intervention of sibling rivalry.
Having recently also read Shaw's war novel, The Young Lions, I think he is an underrated writer - not particularly 'literary', he has a clean journalist's style that doesn't distract from the absorbing stories that he spins. This one focuses on the Jordache family and spans over twenty years, moving between small-town America, New York, Hollywood and Europe.
The title implies that this is about the tension between the two brothers, Rudy and Tom, but the book is just as concerned with their beautiful sister Gretchen, and this combination allows Shaw to draw a broad picture of the way American society shifts between the last years of the war, through the McCarthy era and into the late 60s.
I like that this isn't 'romantic' in any sense of the word and is interested in disappointments, disillusionment and the downside of the American dream. The book ends on a cliff-hanger which, presumably, leads straight into a sequel, taking up the story of the next generation of the Jordache family.
Engaging and absorbing - I enjoyed this very much.
The book tells the story of a fairly dysfunctional family and their trials and tribulations following the end of the second world war. The first half of the book is much better than the second (the second half reads as if he had run out of ideas to keep the reader interested) but overall was a very enjoyable insight of life in 50s and 60s America. I couldn't put this down to start with but ended up taking 2 weeks to read it (over 700 pages) but it was worth it and I am now reading the sequel Beggar Man Thief which follows on directly (literally the day the first book ended) so no confusion etc.
There is a hint of politics and what America was like in the post war years but the story is more to do with the family relationships rather than a critique of the political scene in the US.
This one I read in my twenties for the first time and now I just read it for the third time and am so impressed again.
Looking forward to read the sequel, then I will watch my "Rich Man, Poor Man" DVD's once more.
They don't write novels like this anymore...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I didnt expect anything special considering the price but I was amazed at the awful condition of this book. Read morePublished on 5 Sept. 2011 by jimbo
ALL THE PAGES ARE THERE BUT THE BOOK OUTSIDE PAGES VERY BROWN BUT STILL A VERY GOOD READPublished on 15 May 2009 by mrs jb kynes