Rich Cohen's maternal grandfather was called Ben Eisenstadt. It is a story of family feuds (his mother was eventually disinherited by her mother), eccentricity verging on madness, gangsters, lawyers, corruption, accountants, ex-wives - a quest for a secret history, a black comedy of the American dream.
Rich Cohen's maternal grandfather was called Ben Eisenstadt. Ben was one of those Jews that, with an anger bred of exclusion, went on to reshape the world. He did so by inventing Sweet 'n Low, a granulated sweetener which, in its tiny pink packet, is still found on every table in every diner in America. This simple invention spawned one of the great American fortunes. This is the story of that fortune, how it was made and how it remade and tore apart everyone who touched it. In Sweet and Low, Rich Cohen - the youngest son of Ben's favourite daughter - takes a journey into his own and his family's past. It is a story of family feuds (his mother was eventually disinherited by her mother), eccentricity verging on madness, gangsters, lawyers, corruption, accountants, ex-wives - a quest for a secret history, a black comedy of the American dream.
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"Hooray for Benjamin Eisenstadt, without whom there would be no Sweet 'N Low - and hooray for Rich Cohen, without whom there would be no "Sweet and Low"! With the command of the best historians and a born-memoirist's knack for the unexpectedly profound, Cohen takes us on a hilarious, utterly engrossing tour of the Jewish-American Century through the improbable story of his family, beginning with grandpa Ben, Brooklyn counterman-cum-millionaire-inventor. It's a story of ambition, corruption, fortunes won and nearly lost, and - above all - how families fall apart." --Jonathan Mahler "I love this book. SWEET AND LOW is the amazing story of an industry I knew nothing about--and a product that's on every table--and of the incredible family that somehow created it, written by one of America's best journalists." --Larry King ""Sweet and Low" is the history of the sweet tooth and the Machievellian family that tamed it. I love this book. Rich Cohen is the funniest disinherited man alive." --Patricia Volk, author of "STUFFED " "This remarkable book is an exhilarating read. Hilarious, rueful, sparkling and brainy, It bridges the personal and the larger picture with style and panache. I loved every page of it."--Phillip Lopate "If you're only going to read one history of sugar alternatives / walking tour of Brooklyn and Guyland / rags-to-riches immigrant family tragicomedy this year... that's probably one more than most everyone else. But SWEET AND LOW, which is all of those things and much more, shouldn't be missed. It is the kind of book you want to read aloud to your friends, hoping they might mistakenly think that you're that funny, that knowledgeable, and that brave."--Jonathan Safran Foer Praise for "Tough Jews": "The stories Cohen tells are marvelous, and the writing [is] good enough to cause one to reread a page in order to savor the description." --Vincent Patrick, "The New York Times Book Review" Praise for "Lake Effect: " "So outrageous and so true. . . . the book rockets along, powered by the high octane of Cohen's candor [and] off-beat observations." -"The New York Times Book Review" "Contains lines so heartbreakingly apt and funny I stopped to reread constantly. Cohen is a natural." -Jonathan Lethem "A small classic of familial triumph, travail and strife, and a telling--and often hilarious--parable about the pursuit and costs of the American dream . . . recounted with uncommon acuity and wit."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times"
"How decadent to indulge in Rich Cohen's rollicking account of his family and the business it built. . . . Cohen has a terrific eye for detail, the little things that affix people and places in our memories, the gestures and miscues that shape family history. . . . It's a guilty pleasure--sort of like sugar without calories."--"The New York Times Book Review"
"A wildly addictive, high-octane narrative. Cohen sashays with boisterous panache from the history of the sugar trade to grandmother Betty's brooch. . . . He moves from journalistic objectivity to the intensely personal with ease, enjoying the kind of access that historians almost never get."--"The Washington Post"
"It is Cohen's good fortune to be on the si
About Rich Cohen
Rich Cohen is the author of Tough Jews, The Avengers and Lake Effect. He is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and lives in New York City.
Sweet and Low: A Family Story by Rich Cohen
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