Reviews for Brothers Emanuel : A Memoir of an American Family


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
How did one family produce three such extraordinary sons? Ezekiel is a doctor, university professor, and special advisor on health policy for President Obama. Rahm is mayor of Chicago and a former White House chief of staff. Ari is a powerhouse Hollywood agent. Firstborn Ezekiel traces the genesis of the divergent achievements of the brothers Emanuel in this vivid, engaging, and thoughtfully analytical family portrait that illuminates the forceful personalities and "kinetic energy" of the Emanuels as well as 1960s Chicago. Their Israeli father, Ben, was consumed by his work as a community-minded doctor. Their mother, Marsha, a fearless activist, took her young sons to civil rights protests. The brothers fought constantly but always defended each other during street fights with anti-Semitic and racist bullies. Ezekiel's loving, bemused, and incisive chronicle of Emanuel family dynamics and each brother's struggles--his as an ambitious nerd; "fiercely intelligent" Rahm's with sensitivity about his height; and natural-born entrepreneur Ari's with learning disabilities--fizzes with surprising disclosures, alarming and hilarious incidents, and intriguing perspectives on the American dream, the nature-versus-nurture puzzle, and diverse definitions of success. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #1
The brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel relates the history of his family's classic immigrants-make-good American story. Ezekiel Emanuel's memoir is ostensibly the story of how he and his brothers, Rahm and Ari, developed their unique personalities and talents over the years. The author became a respected research scientist specializing in bioethics, his brother Ari, a successful talent agent, and his brother Rahm worked for the Clinton campaign in 1992 and eventually became Barack Obama's chief of staff. Yet despite the brothers' ambitions in their respective fields, they aren't the ones whose lives make for the most interesting focal point in the book: It's the parents who actually lived the memoir-worthy lives. The father, Ben, was a direct participant in the Israeli War of Independence in 1948, interrupting his medical studies to act as an amateur secret agent and then joining the Israeli artillery in the fight against the Egyptians. After the war, he finished medical school in Switzerland before coming to America to set up his practice. Their mother was a staunch left-wing activist in the 1960s; she brought her sons to some of the most heated political protests in Chicago. Comparatively, the early life that Ezekiel and his brothers led in the Chicago suburbs was fairly comfortable and middle-class, with all three brothers going to expensive, exclusive colleges on their father's dime and studiously sticking to the straight-and-narrow path to professional success. In fact, the most exciting thing that happened to the author came while studying in England: He was jailed in Oxford for supposedly resisting arrest while breaking bike safety laws. Well-written and heartfelt but short on dramatic moments and memorable anecdotes. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #2

The oldest of three boys, Emanuel recalls growing up in Chicago in the 1960's and 70's with his brothers, Rahm and Ari, their pediatrician father Ben, and activist mother Marsha. Rahm would grow up to advise Bill Clinton and become mayor of Chicago. Ari is a Hollywood talent agent and Ezekiel a bioethicist specializing in end-of-life care decisions. The story begins with Ben's journey from Israel to medical school in France, then to Chicago's Mount Sinai Hospital. . He opened a private practice, serving Chicago's melting pot by speaking four languages and charging on a sliding scale. Marsha joined picket lines for desegregation and encouraged her sons to devote themselves to social justice, even bringing them to a 1966 march attended by Martin Luther King. Ezekiel recalls blatant anti-semitism, from racial slurs to bigoted country clubs. The Emanuels immersed themselves in culture, from the symphony and ballet lessons to Jewish theology. The family traveled often, ranging from a trip along Route 66 in a sky-blue Rambler to whole summers spent in Israel which Ezekiel recalls with vivid description. This book is a beautiful portrait of growing up Jewish in an urban environment during an era of profound social change. (Apr.)

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

The oldest of three boys, Emanuel recalls growing up in Chicago in the 1960's and 70's with his brothers, Rahm and Ari, their pediatrician father Ben, and activist mother Marsha. Rahm would grow up to advise Bill Clinton and become mayor of Chicago. Ari is a Hollywood talent agent and Ezekiel a bioethicist specializing in end-of-life care decisions. The story begins with Ben's journey from Israel to medical school in France, then to Chicago's Mount Sinai Hospital. . He opened a private practice, serving Chicago's melting pot by speaking four languages and charging on a sliding scale. Marsha joined picket lines for desegregation and encouraged her sons to devote themselves to social justice, even bringing them to a 1966 march attended by Martin Luther King. Ezekiel recalls blatant anti-semitism, from racial slurs to bigoted country clubs. The Emanuels immersed themselves in culture, from the symphony and ballet lessons to Jewish theology. The family traveled often, ranging from a trip along Route 66 in a sky-blue Rambler to whole summers spent in Israel which Ezekiel recalls with vivid description. This book is a beautiful portrait of growing up Jewish in an urban environment during an era of profound social change. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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