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Not Bad for Delancey Street : The Rise of Billy Rose, Hardback Book


If you've ever seen the movie Funny Lady or read about the fantastic extravagance of the 1939 New York World's Fair, ever visited Jerusalem, sung along to "It's Only a Paper Moon," or strolled through Times Square, then you have most likely heard about the tiny titan Billy Rose.

Showman, songwriter, impresario, cultural arbiter, tough guy, visionary, wiseacre, and secret Jewish rescuer when Jews were struggling for survival in Europe, Billy Rose was a major figure in American life.

Not Bad for Delancey Street: The Rise and Rise of Billy Rose is the first biography to tell the whole story of Rose's life, and the only one to portray him as an exaggerated exemplar of a version of the American Jewish experience that came to predominate after World War II: secular, intermarried, bent on financial success, in love with Israel, and wedded to America.

The life of Billy Rose was set against the great events of the twentieth century, including the Depression, when Rose became rich entertaining millions; the Nazi war against the Jews, which Rose fought with theatrical pageants that urged the American government to act; the postwar American boom, which Rose rode to attain extraordinary wealth; and the birth of Israel, where Rose staked his claim to immortality.

Mark Cohen tells the unlikely but true story, based on exhaustive research, of Rose's single-handed rescue in 1939 of an Austrian Jewish refugee stranded in Fascist Italy, an event that Rose never spoke of but which surfaced fifty years later as the core of Saul Bellow's short novel, The Bellarosa Connection.




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