The Bronfmans: The Rise and Fall of the House of Seagram

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Macmillan, Apr 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 352 pages

The story of the Bronfman family is a fascinating and improbable saga. It is dominated by "Mr. Sam," the single greatest figure in the history of the liquor business, the man who made drinking whiskey respectable in the United States and who in the 1950s and 1960s built Seagram into the first worldwide empire in wine and spirits.
After Sam's death in 1971, his oldest son, Edgar, maintained the business, though he was distracted by his matrimonial problems. Nevertheless, in the 1980s he masterminded a major coup when he translated a small investment in oil made by his father into a 25 percent stake in the mighty DuPont company.
But in the 1990s, Edgar allowed his second son, Edgar Jr., to indulge his ambition to become a media tycoon. The stake in DuPont was sold, and the money reinvested in Universal, the film and theme-park empire. Edgar Jr. then paid more than $10 billion to buy Polygram Records and thus fulfill his fancy to be king of the world's music business. But at the same time, he remained in charge of the liquor business, which started to stagnate—indeed, to fall apart. Then came the final disaster when the increasingly divided family sold out to Jean-Marie Messier, overreaching empire builder of Vivendi, the French conglomerate.
But the story of this amazing family over the past century is about more than booze and business. The Bronfmans is a spectacular account that details the larger-than-life personalities and bitter rivalries that have made the family so famous and, sometimes, so infamous.

 

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THE BRONFMANS: The Rise and Fall of the House of Seagram

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Sprawling tale of the fortunes and misfortunes of the Bronfman family, who transformed themselves from bootleggers to billionaires in a single generation.Samuel Bronfman was an infant when his Russian ... Read full review

The Bronfmans: the rise & fall of the Bronfmans of Seagram

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Drawing from published and firsthand accounts, journalist and business historian Faith (Safety in Numbers ) tells the story of the Bronfmans, who acquired and grew the Seagram liquor company. He ... Read full review

Contents

ONE Mr Sam No Ordinary Monster
1
TWO Yechiel and His Tribe
19
THREE The Harry Years
33
FOUR The Prohibition Business
54
FIVE The Road to Respectability
70
Six Great Expectations Great Deceptions
86
SEVEN Crowning Glory
100
EIGHT A Truly Canadian Jew
116
ELEVEN The Generation Gap
165
TWELVE Crown Prince
184
THIRTEEN Time for Business
197
FOURTEEN King of the Jews?
212
FIFTEEN Clown Prince
227
NINETEEN The Aftermath
299
SIXTEEN A Universal Panacea 246
317
Copyright

TEN Not Just Dysfunctional Disintegrating
140

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About the author (2007)

Nicholas Faith is a distinguished veteran journalist, a former senior editor at The Economist and the London Sunday Times. He also founded and was chairman of the International Spirits Challenge, now the most prestigious event of its kind in the world. He has written twenty-three books, including The Winemakers of Bordeaux and Safety in Numbers: The Mysterious World of Swiss Banking.

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