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Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents' Tailor Hardcover – November 10, 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 202 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"In 1956, Martin Greenfield was a twentysomething Czech immigrant working as a tailor at the well-regarded Brooklyn suit maker GGG Clothes. Greenfield had gotten in the door, in 1947, with the help of a fellow immigrant friend and eventually worked his way from the lowly post of 'floor boy' to trusted confidante of owner William P. Goldman, who took a shine to his competitive spirit. GGG was a favorite label of Dwight D. Eisenhower, and the young tailor couldn’t help himself from passing advice on foreign policy to the Oval Office via the pockets of the president’s new suits. If Eisenhower wanted to end the Suez Canal crisis, Greenfield suggested in a note, why not give Secretary of State John Dulles a two-week vacation? Eisenhower eventually shared his tailor’s hubris with the D.C. press corps for a few laughs. The anecdote is one of many in Greenfield’s new memoir that demonstrates the extraordinary experience he had with capital-H history in the back half of the 20th century."
Vanity Fair

"It's a remarkable book."
—Nationally syndicated radio host Mark Levin

"I dare you to read Holocaust survivor Martin Greenfield's story and not burst into tears. [...] Every once in a while a book is written that you'll never forget, and leaves you telling all your family and friends about. Martin Greenfield's Measure of a Man: From Auschwitz Survivor to Presidents' Tailor is one of those books."
—The Daily Surge

From the Inside Flap

The first time Martin Greenfield took up needle and thread was at Auschwitz, to mend the shirt of the SS guard who had just beaten him. Today, he is recognized as "America's greatest living tailor," the man who dresses presidents and movie stars.

Measure of a Man is Greenfield's story. More than an unforgettable account of survival and triumph, it's the testimony of a man who came of age amid the darkest evil in modern history but never lost hope.

The Nazis came for the Jews in Greenfield's Carpathian village in 1944. Separated from his parents and siblings as soon as they arrived at Auschwitz, Martin was the only one of his family to survive the Holocaust. "Where was God?" he asked the rabbi who arrived with Eisenhower's liberating army a year
later at Buchenwald.

Greenfield arrived in America in 1947, nineteen years old and penniless. He went to work as a floor boy at a Brooklyn clothing factory and quickly became a virtuoso tailor, making suits for the president and the biggest names in Hollywood. Within thirty years he owned the firm.

His insistence on the highest standards, his humility, and his humor have made Martin Greenfield the clothier—and inevitably the friend—of many of the greatest legends of American politics, entertainment, and sports. He has passed foreign policy advice to Eisenhower on notes tucked into his suit pockets, encouraged a disillusioned Paul Newman on the brink of abandoning his acting career, and coaxed both Bill Clinton and Carmelo Anthony into tails.

Throughout his long and improbable career, Greenfield has never lost his sense of gratitude for the country that plucked him out of hell and enabled him to build a new home and family. "America is dreams," he writes. "In Yiddish, we have a proverb—'Heaven and hell can both be had in this world.' But America is the only place I know that lets you turn your hell into a heaven. It did for me."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing (November 10, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1621572668
  • ISBN-13: 978-1621572664
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (202 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 27, 2014
Format: Hardcover
MEASURE OF A MAN starts off with the author, as a boy, in a German concentration camp. Martin was quickly separated from most of his family--and many relatives he would never see again. Martin was sent to the line on the right, where the prisoners were allowed to live. Those on the left--including many of his family--were killed.

We've heard the Auschwitz story before, but it bears repeating. The young boy was witness to astonishing acts of human cruelty. He witnesses a friend being used as target practice. Martin's father was a wise man who realized that in order for his son to survive, he and his son must be separated. Thus, early on, his father claimed Martin was a skilled mechanic.

Like the other prisoners in Auschwitz, Martin was given a tattoo. In his case "A4406." For some reason, the young man was sent to the camp laundry. There, he learned a little bit about sewing and the power of appearance. Martin had torn a Nazi shirt whilst cleaning it, and after being bloodied by the guard for his error, Martin decided to wear the shirt under his prisoner garb. "The day I wore that first shirt was the day I learned clothes possess power. Clothes don't just make the man, they can save the man. They did for me."

Ironically, the hellhole of Auschwitz became his tailoring training ground--but hardly his first choice: "Of course, receiving your first tailoring lesson inside a Nazi concentration camp was hardly the ideal apprenticeship. I would have much preferred to learn my craft on Savile Row."

In January of 1945, the Jewish prisoners were forced to march on the infamous "death march." Only 500 prisoners survived. Martin recalls that he was forced to carry a heavy backpack of one of the German soldiers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I could not put it down. His story of surviving Nazi Concentration Camps and his fathers advice about honoring his family. This book should be required reading for High School Seniors who are trying to figure out their future. Great book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a great read on so many levels. History, Reality, Hard Work, Business Ethics, Human Spirit, Patriotism and even the Grace of God.... Thank you Mark Levin for reading a bit during your XM show or else I'd never have known about this book.

Martin Greenfield--May God Bless you.
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Honestly I feel as though I know Mr. Greenfield after just the first few chapters. Extremely well written. I was living the hell with that little boy through those pages. Such shameful suffering. And what a grand turn of events for his future. Kudos to Mr. Greenfield and Mr. Hall.
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This memoir begins with the gripping account of a boy being sent to one of Hitler's concentration camps, and takes you on a journey to his success as one of the best known tailors in the United States. Although it does spend a significant amount of time referring to the Holocaust, it is never dark and depressing, but manages to be hopeful, upbeat, determined, and even cheerful despite the atrocities. I cannot imagine this book not speaking to anyone. It's well written, as though you were having a series of conversations with a good friend or beloved relative. I often buy books as gifts, and this is going to be the one I gift most in the next year. I read a lot and this has been my favourite 2014 read. Highly recommended.
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By Conan on November 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book. Right from the start it leaps from the page and seizes you, because Greenfield has a story to tell, an important story. After the first half dozen pages I realized I wanted my 12 year old to read this. It has elements of excitement and harrowing drama. I am in awe of such a person.
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Format: Hardcover
The table of contents says there are twelve chapters. Essentially, this book has only two chapters: I will call them "The Holocaust Experience" and "Martin, the Menswear Guy." The author's holocaust experience as a teenager, the execution of his father just a week prior to liberation, and his postwar transition, ending in a life in a segregated America, are intensely interesting and rank with the best of Holocaust memoirs. Martin, the Menswear Guy--not so much. Unless you a) are totally wedded to the concept that clothes make the man, and b) fervently believe that celebrities are invariably and inherently of greater value and interest than your neighbor down the street, the second part of the book may leave you cold and yearning to be on the final page.

While in the camps, "I'd never felt so alone. I wondered where God was, where He'd been these last nine months... I wasn't having a crisis of faith. I was a child. I didn't think grand, deep thoughts. All I knew was that I wanted to feel close to God, to know that He hadn't forgotten me and still loved me. 'Maybe God's just been really busy,' I remember thinking. 'Soon maybe He will remember me.'" (pp. 38-39) Although the book doesn't develop the author's personal theology, clearly he never drifted into agnosticism or atheism. In fact, he finally celebrated his long-delayed Bar Mitzvah on his eightieth birthday and "felt God's presence and peace." (p. 218)

The following seem worth noting:

"I will go to my grave believing that the many who lived in and around the camps knew what Hitler and his henchman were up to. How could they not?" (p. 55)

"I found it hard to talk about what we went through.
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