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Building Home: Howard F. Ahmanson and the Politics of the American Dream Hardcover – February 28, 2013
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"At heart, this is about a son surpassing his goal to earn back a family company lost when his father died, but Abrahamson's dense analyses make this study relevant to today's debates about how to fairly regulate the financial marketplace."--"Publishers Weekly"
"Enjoyable storytelling."--"Martin Brower's Oc Report"
"An impressive biography."--"Wall Street Journal"
"An impressive biography."--Robert Bruegmann"Wall Street Journal" (03/05/2013)
"It's very easy to highly recommend Building Home . . . an interesting and uplifting read."--John Tamny"Forbes" (04/14/2013)
"Despite the nation's now-reluctant familiarity with mortgage finance, it can be a hard topic to warm up to. Reading Building Home, one not only warms to the subject, but also to the argument that big businesses and the government can work together for the public benefit."--Kim Velsey"New York Observer" (03/27/2013)
"Ahmanson (who died in 1968) is remembered--if at all--through the cultural institutions he supported: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Music Center. Abrahamson makes a compelling case that Ahmanson ought to be better remembered--positively and negatively--as a man who made much of Los Angeles."--D. J. Waldie"KCET/SoCal Focus blog" (04/05/2013)
"[Abrahamson] does an impressive job under difficult circumstances of documenting Ahmanson's life--warts and all. . . . Fascinating reading."--William G. Hamm"ABA Banking Journal" (04/25/2013)
An impressive biography. --Robert Bruegmann"Wall Street Journal" (03/05/2013)"
It s very easy to highly recommend Building Home . . . an interesting and uplifting read. --John Tamny"Forbes" (04/14/2013)"
Despite the nation s now-reluctant familiarity with mortgage finance, it can be a hard topic to warm up to. Reading Building Home, one not only warms to the subject, but also to the argument that big businesses and the government can work together for the public benefit. --Kim Velsey"New York Observer" (03/27/2013)"
Ahmanson (who died in 1968) is remembered if at all through the cultural institutions he supported: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Music Center. Abrahamson makes a compelling case that Ahmanson ought to be better remembered positively and negatively as a man who made much of Los Angeles. --D. J. Waldie"KCET/SoCal Focus blog" (04/05/2013)"
From the Inside Flap
"Eric John Abrahamson has accomplished a great feat: Using interviews and detective work in the archives, he chronicles the personality and vision of Howard Ahmanson, a man as elusive in the written records as he was imposing in the memory of those who knew him. Abrahamson tells an impressive history of Ahmanson’s innovations in the savings-and-loan business, revealing how the man and his company left a long-lasting influence on the cultural as well as business landscape of southern California."Adam Arenson, author of The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War
Eric Abrahamson takes us back to an earlier era for America and Southern California when dreams were realized not only for a few but literally for millions. The optimism and nerve of howard ahmanson's times are displayed with balance and critical insight. But it's clear that we have lost much of our focus on home and family. The question for us is can we somehow restore the American dream before it devolves into the mists of history?”Joel Kotkin, the author of The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, The City: A Global History
"Howard Ahmanson's gifts to culture in Los Angeles were enormous. As the sole owner of Home Savings, the nation's largest savings and loan, Ahmanson became one of the richest men in California by catering to middle-class dreams of home ownership. During his lifetime, he played a key role in funding the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Music Center, the Otis Art Institute and other civic organizations. With his endowment of the Ahmanson Foundation, he created an institution that provides $40 million a year in grants to benefit education, social services, healthcare and the arts in Los Angeles. Yet to most Angelenos, Ahmanson was and remains a mystery. Eric John Abrahamson's biography reveals the man and places him within the broader economic, political and cultural streams of mid-century America and Southern California."Stephen D. Rountree, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Music Center
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Howard Ahmanson made his fortune by selling fire insurance and by buying thrifts. He saw a way to make money not by lending to people with money, but by lending to the middle class and working class who at the time had trouble securing enough financing to purchase a home. To be succesful at this, he did two things. First, he found a way to out perform his competitors by purchasing several unrelated thrifts and making one large thrift with branches in every community in Southern California. Because of the size of his operation, he could offer the best rates on mortgages and the best rates for the working class saver. Secondly, he influenced government. Thrifts were a regulated industry, and Ahmanson did what he could to influence who could buy thrifts, who chaired the thrift commission in California, and what regulations the commission enacted. For the 1940's and 1950's, the commission thought it was their duty to encourage the operation of thrifts so that the average person had access to home mortgages. In the 1960's, government realized that their friendly regulations and cooperation with thrift owners had created an industry which benefitted wealthy men as much or more than the working class who needed home mortgages. By this time, the system had made Mr. Ahmanson very rich, but what was the effect on communities and the average American? Would a deregulated industry bring competition into the market and bring down the cost of borrowing money for a mortgage?
What I read in this book is troubling to me.Read more ›
Truly, a case study of a different way of living,
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book provides great historical perspective, it's an excellent business case study, and a fascinating personal story. Highly recommend this bookPublished 22 months ago by Declan James Healy
The book was focused on the family of Howard Ahmanson and California state housing policy. That was OK but I had hoped that the book would go into greater depth in explaining the... Read morePublished on June 22, 2013 by Ardythe Grosskopf
The book provides a review of the history of the Savings and Loan industry and one of it's most successful entrepreneurs. Read morePublished on March 31, 2013 by Kenneth H Petersen