The Outsider

Albert M. Greenfield and the Fall of the Protestant Establishment

Dan Rottenberg
Book Cover

PB: $24.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-0842-6
Publication: Mar 18

HC: $45.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-0841-9
Publication: Sep 14

Ebook: $45.00
EAN: 978-1-4399-0843-3
Publication: Sep 14

384 pages
6 x 9
12 halftones

Reviews

The curse of history is that it inevitably becomes hazy. The beauty of history is its come-alive revival in Dan Rottenberg’s eloquent and meticulously researched The Outsider . As Rottenberg so marvelously shows, Albert M. Greenfield wore a multitude of top hats: real estate, hotels, retail, newspapers, even candy. He was also a marvelous contradiction: a street hustler but of impeccable manner, ruthless in the art of the deal but dedicated to civil rights, the object of despicable anti-Semitism but never of any grudge. What emerges is not simply an indelible portrayal of a great Philadelphian but a great and timeless American.” —Buzz Bissinger, author of A Prayer for the City and Friday Night Light

" With The Outsider , Rottenberg (shows how) Greenfield carefully managed his public image, from the time of his emergence as a real estate trader pledged to the corrupt Vare Republican political gang of the 1910s and '20s, through his emergence as a banking and retail baron and patron of FDR's New Deal, to his post-World War II national prominence." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Rottenberg’s well-researched narrative gracefully traces (Albert M.) Greenfield’s story through the theme of his 'outsider' status. The author appreciates the subtleties of what this would have meant to his subject, who seems to have aspired to 'mainline' acceptance but without sacrificing his Jewish heritage wholesale, all while vehemently rejecting the 'rags-to-riches' label.... Rottenberg’s work, with its thoughtful, nuanced analysis and readable, lively prose, should command a broader audience still, and could be a useful monograph for collegiate courses on ethnic relations, urban politics, or the intersection of class, culture, and business." PA Magazine of History and Biography

"In this mainly laudatory biography, Rottenberg traces Greenfield’s unlikely story, beginning as a Russian Jewish son of a textile worker through his rapid rise to fortune as a real estate broker, developer, and banker. Though the book deals primarily with Greenfield’s business activities, Rottenberg pays close attention to his subject’s struggles as a Jew in a world dominated by the entrenched Protestant establishment..... Readers interested in the history of Philadelphia will enjoy the detailed accounts of Greenfield’s role in the development of some of the city’s most prominent buildings and businesses, and his relationships with generations of business, religious, and civic leaders." —Library Journal

Dan Rottenberg has written an insightful, fascinating book about Albert M. Greenfield—a man who had as much to do with the mid-twentieth-century renaissance of Philadelphia as the dynamic team of Joe Clark and Richard Dilworth. They brought Philadelphia back to life. Greenfield’s business acumen and inexhaustible energy changed the nature of Philadelphia’s business establishment forever. An amazing book about an amazing man!” —Edward G. Rendell, former Governor of Pennsylvania

Table of Contents

Preface: The Jews, the Wasps, and the New American Dream Author’s Disclosure Prologue: Merion Station, December 1930 PART I: Beginnings 1. The Wealth in Your Head 2. The New World PART II: Power 3. Broker 4. Developer 5. Banker PART III: Downfall 6. The Great Crash 7. The Protestant Establishment 8. The Reckoning PART IV: Comeback 9. Merchant Prince 10. New Deal Democrat 11. Reluctant Zionist 12. Godfather PART V: Legacy 13. Civic Savior 14. Lion in Winter 15. House of Cards Epilogue: Merion Station, December 1930 Acknowledgments Principal Characters Notes Bibliography Index

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