A sequel of sorts to The Making of a Jew (1996). Between the making of deals, flying around on jets, and the eating of good...


GOOD SPIRITS: The Making of a Businessman

A sequel of sorts to The Making of a Jew (1996). Between the making of deals, flying around on jets, and the eating of good brisket sandwiches--all chronicled here--it's bard to tell when Bronfman had the time to write this odd but rather appealing book, part memoir and part savvy digest of big-business deal-making. The narrative offers a series of glimpses of Bronfman's business dealings at Seagram's, of which he is now the chairman, interspersed with glimpses of childhood events that Bronfman believes have helped shape his outlook and appetites. His family settled in Montreal and lived lavishly in an enormous home. But Bronfman remembers chiefly a lot of heavy furniture and dark rooms, and notes in passing that he rarely returns there. His job training, to his mind, began on the day of his birth. As the first son, he was automatically in line to take over the company and was expected to begin, at an early age, to master the business from the gorund up. His two older sisters were expected to stay out of his way. His oldest sister died still angry about being cut out of the business, but Bronfman notes that he has made peace with the rest of his family, including his mother, from whom he had been slightly estranged since childhood. Bronfman discusses his family and business life with great honesty and gives a short and harrowing account of the kidnapping of his son Sam in 1975. Bronfman's interests, like his company, are far-reaching, and he manages to pack in detailed discussions of such things as Du Pont stock options, Swiss gold, and the comforts of home in the short span of this book. President of the World Jewish Congress, he closes with an impassioned plea against anti-Semitism. While this is utterly harmless stuff, the book is likely to be of interest to only a small circle of readers.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1998


Page Count: 256

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1998

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