This is a rags-to-riches tale aout an honest, ambitious, and generous young bootblack from lower Manhattan in the late 1800s.
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Not realistic in today's world - but a fast read
I listened to this book as an example of prose by an all-time top-selling author (according to Amazon).
Although the social conventions, and to a degree, the writing style are outmoded, the simplicity of the style still makes it very readable.
There was little in the way of dramatic tension, other than two anecdotes which involved a theft and a rescue. It was mostly about how a very laudable little boy raises himself up by his bootstraps by being an ideal person.
What was interesting was the core tacit belief in the validity of the American economic system: even a nine year-old orphan boy living on his own, barely surviving as a shoe-shine, and scrupulously honest, can make a success of himself with fortuitous connections, hard work, an eye for opportunity, and a generous heart.
This sounds like a vision of the soul of the Entrepreneur, and simultaneously a form of blindness.
One wants to believe that this will always happen. One knows that there are other versions of this story that do not end as happily.
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