Albert M. Greenfield (1887-1967), an ambitious immigrant outsider, was courted for his business acumen by mayors, senators, governors, and presidents, including Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman. As this feisty Russian Jew built a business empire that encompassed real estate, stores (including Bonwit Teller and Tiffany's), hotels (including the Ben Franklin and the Bellevue-Stratford), banks, newspapers, transportation companies, and even the Loft Candy Corporation, he challenged the entrenched business elite. Greenfield was also instrumental in bringing both major political conventions to Philadelphia in 1948.
In The Outsider, veteran journalist and best-selling author Dan Rottenberg deftly chronicles the astonishing rises, falls, and countless reinventions of this savvy businessman. Greenfield's power allowed him to cross social, religious, and ethnic boundaries with impunity. He alarmed Philadelphia's conservative business and social leaders-Christians and Jews alike-some of whom plotted his downfall.
In this engaging account of Greenfield's fascinating life, Rottenberg demonstrates the extent to which one uniquely brilliant and energetic man pushed the boundaries of society's limitations on individual potential. The Outsider provides a microcosmic look at three twentieth-century upheavals: the rise of Jews as a crucial American business force, the decline of America's Protestant establishment, and the transformation of American cities.