Rich Man Poor Man Author:Irwin Shaw This is the story of brothers Rudolph and Thomas Jordache and their sister, Gretchen. The Jordaches are German-American, their father a 1920s immigrant who fought on the wrong side in the First World War and now in 1945 works in a down-beat bakery selling stale cherry pie in New York. Embittered, brutal and miserly, Axel Jordache holds little ch... more »arm for his defeatist wife or their disaffected offspring. Rudy, the dutiful son, is smart, diligent and quiet, working hard at school because he sees education as a passport to the better life he wants. He is the good guy. Tom is wild, indolent, aggressive, sees nothing beyond today and wants only to use his fists. He is the bad guy. As for Gretchen: naive, beautiful and restless, Gretchen just wants a guy. Three young people, all in their individual ways bright kids and all, in their individual ways, wanting out.
But this is post-war America. Nothing is going to come easy. Who will make their fortune and how? It's the premise for a novel the like of which hasn't been seen in 30 years. And it doesn't disappoint today. Covering two decades while it whisks the reader from coast to coast in the States and over to the South of France, this is one of the original blockbusters to achieve -- justifiably -- the status of a classic. In some ways a take on the American Dream, Shaw's heroically written book found immediate relevance when it was first published in 1971, becoming one of the first enormously successful television mini-series.« less