For years, people have been asking Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, the brash, outspoken, and fiercely loyal eldest brother in the Emanuel clan, the same question: What did your mom put in the cereal? Middle brother Rahm is the mayor of Chicago, erstwhile White House chief of staff, and one of the most colorful figures in American politics. Youngest brother Ari is a Hollywood super-agent, the real-life model for the character of Ari Gold on the hit series Entourage. And Zeke himself, whom the other brothers consider to be the smartest of them all, is one of the world’s leading bioethicists and oncologists, and a former special advisor for health policy in the Obama administration. How did one family of modest means produce three such high-achieving kids? Here, for the first time, Zke provides the answer.
Set amid the tumult of Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s, Brothers Emanuel recounts the intertwined histories of these three rambunctious, hypercompetitive Jewish American boys, each with his own unique and compelling life story. But ultimately, this is the story of the entire Emanuel family: the tough, colorful Old World grandparents; a mischievous, loving father who immigrated to the United States with twenty-five dollars and who enthralled his boys with tales of his adventures in Israel’s war for independence; and a proud, politically engaged mother who took the boys with her to rallies and protests - including a civil rights march through the streets of Chicago led by Martin Luther King himself.
Even as the Emanuels distinguished themselves as individuals, the bond of brotherhood that tied them together was never broken. Brothers Emanuel is a wry, rollicking, and often poignant narrative of how one American family succeeded in raising three extraordinary children.
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I Love You, You Schmuck
More accurate title: "Emanuel and his family"
My late wife worked for Zeke in the 1990's when he was at Harvard and her description of him as very smart, very driven, very capable, and oblivious to his effect on others ring through the entire book. While Zeke did write the book, it is still too focused on his accomplishments and life and too little on that of his brothers.
IMHO, there is also too much blame heaped on his mother, who faced a very difficult chore of bringing up 3 ADHD boys in a small apartment in Chicago while her husband's mother lived with and despised her, and her husband worked long hours. Zeke could use a little more empathy.
I also would have liked to learn more about Rahm's and Ari's childhood. It appears that they were shaped quite differently by the family. Why? How did Ari's dyslexia affect him positively (rather than negatively as he is described as a pugnacious, fighter most of the time)?
Overall, the book is a good read and entertaining. But, it could have been much more is Zeke had taken the time to interview Rahm and Ari and then write about events from their viewpoints also.