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Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South (Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies) Hardcover – May 23, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is no wonder... that when Rosenwald died in 1932, W.E.B. DuBois declared, 'He was a great man. But he was no mere philanthropist. He was, rather, the subtle stinging critic of our racial democracy.'... Set against the virtual absence of black education in the rural South beforehand, his [Rosenwald's] schools qualified as revolutionary.... Rosenwald established a standard of enlightenment, impact and common sense." —Moment

(Moment)

"In Julius Rosenwald... his grandson Peter Max Ascoli has done well in searching out the scattered sources that previous biographers have neglected. In particular, we now have a much clearer understanding of Rosenwald's relations with contemporary social reformers like Jane Addams." —Chronicle Review

(Chronicle Review)

"As Ascoli shows in this... thorough biography, Rosenwald was a compelling figure, a mensch who followed his principles, mixing good business with good social justice." —The Forward

(The Forward)

"Ascoli's work will stand as the definitive biography of Juiius Rosenwald for a long time to come." —David Blanke, An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies, 2008

(David Blanke An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 2008-01-00)

"This book is a great start in giving Rosenwald the attention he deserves." —Library Journal

(Library Journal)

From the Publisher

-- A ForeWord Magazine "Book of the Year" Finalist--
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Product Details

  • Series: Philanthropic and Nonprofit Studies
  • Hardcover: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press; 1St Edition edition (May 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0253347416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0253347411
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #888,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a fascinating and extremely well-written book about a man who was not only a giant in the business world but also a pioneering philanthropist who genuinely cared about helping people.

Under Julius Rosenwald, Sears Roebuck became the number one retailer in the world. As his fortune grew, Rosenwald turned to philanthropy where his charitable acumen matched his business ability.

Anyone interested in the story of the rise of a great business, the terrible conditions that many African-Americans had to live under--for that's where much of Rosenwald's philanthropy was aimed--and the general business and social climate of the early twentieth century, will find this a stimulating and provocative book. I warmly recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Julius Rosenwald is someone that should be known to everyone as he was a true hero especially to the African-American community. He was one of those very rare people who really care about others and used his great wealth and influence to help. If there is a person that I would like to meet and have dinner in person, it will be him next to Mother Teresa. He should be taught in schools not only in economics and business classes but also on how to live like an upright, compassionate person. I sometimes visit his grave at the Rosehill cemetery in Chicago, Illinois to pay respect to this outstanding man. Even in death, his humility stands out. As a very wealthy person, he could have built himself a grand resting place but his (and his wife) was so simple, undistinguished and humble. Exactly how he wanted it. I am a big admirer of this man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Julius Rosenwald was an American-born German Jew who lived from 1862-1932. JR, as he was known, succeeded Richard Sears as president of Sears, Roebuck in 1906 and used his vast entrepreneurial gifts to greatly expand the company's Chicago-based mail-order operation and testing laboratories, in addition to planning for the opening of the first Sears department store in 1925. But Rosenwald, strongly influenced by Reform Judaism's abiding concern for social justice, became equally well-known for his Jewish philanthropy, for building the pioneering Museum of Science and Industry on Chicago's South Side (which many still refer to as the "Rosenwald Museum"), for coming to the aid of the University of Chicago as it faced financial disaster during the Great Depression, and, most significantly, for his close friendship with Booker T. Washington that led to the establishment of hundreds of "Rosenwald schools" in black communities throughout the South.

Although it was written by JR's grandson, who is a historian by profession, the book presents a highly readable, well-balanced portrait of a shrewd, generous man who gave far more to his community and country than he received.
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Format: Hardcover
Several years ago I embarked on an unlikely journey by visiting all 1400+ of South Carolina historic register landmarks. It was in a rural county that I came across a school with the strange name of "Retreat Rosenwald." I did not give the matter too much thought, until I came across another Rosenwald school, then another. Finally, when I walked around the crumbling ruins of the Hannah Rosenwald school in Newberry County, I decided to do some homework, and that is the story of how I came to read this well-written and engaging biography.

Julius Rosenwald is of course "front and center stage," for the narrative, but what I also enjoyed was the ease with which the author provided the rich, background detail to so much otherwise forgotten American culture and history. I highly recommend the book.
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Format: Hardcover
Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck And Advanced The Cause Of Black Education In The American South by Peter M. Ascoli (an academician and the grandson of Julius Rosenwald) is the definitive biography of Rosenwald, a pioneer not only in transforming Sears, Roebuck into the greatest mail-order firm in the world, but also in philanthropy. He helped build more than 5,300 schools in the American South, among other efforts to improve the lives of his fellow citizens such as the Rosenwald Fund. Exhaustively researched and packed cover to cover with minute detail, Julius Rosenwald is highly recommended reading given its author's considerable accomplishments in business and humanitarian spheres alike.
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Format: Hardcover
An absorbing account of Julius Rosenwald's rise in the mail-order world of merchandise and the changing world of class, politics and culture. Here was a man who made millions at the turn of the 20th Century and proceeded to give it to society in areas where he felt it lacked. A must read for all of those involved with and interested in the world of philanthropy, the African-American experience and history.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is an in depth and intriguing study of the businessman and philanthropist, Julius Rosenwald (JR), and the early twentieth century. I congratulate Dr. Ascoli for thoroughly researching and telling JR's story. Unfortunately, until this book was published few living Americans knew of JR and his impact on American society. The reader will be amazed to learn that so many business practices that we take for granted today e.g.profit sharing were ideas of JR's and begun at Sears. In philanthropy, too, he was innovative and cleverly spread his wealth to broad elements of society while he was alive---not perpetuating it through a foundation after his death.

The book should be required reading for MBA students, students of American history and law and those in the philanthropic and non profit studies field and everyone else will find it fascinating too.
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