by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel M.D. (Zeke) '79
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Random House; 2013; 288 pp.
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Brash. Articulate. Diligent. Rigorous. Tenacious. Animated. Assertive. Loyal. These are just a few words used to describe three high-achieving men—the outspoken mayor of the third largest U.S. city, a celebrated Hollywood super-agent, and one of the world’s leading bioethicists and oncologists —who also happen to be brothers born into a family of modest means. So, what did Zeke, Rahm, and Ari’s mom put in the cereal?
In BROTHERS EMANUEL: A Memoir of an American Family (Random House Hardcover, On Sale March 26), eldest brother and Amherst alumnus Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel (whom the other brothers consider to be the smartest of them all) recounts the intertwined histories of these three rambunctious and driven Jewish American boys, each with his own compelling life story. Set amid the tumult of Chicago in the 1960s and the 1970s, Zeke explains the path his youngest brother Ari took from an entrepreneurial kid who suffered from dyslexia to the real-life model for the bold character of Ari Gold on the hit series ‘Entourage’; the path the middle brother (and quietest child!) Rahm took from underachieving student and accomplished ballet dancer to one of the most colorful figures in American politics; and the path Zeke himself took from geeky high school debater to renowned bioethicist and special advisor for health policy in the Obama administration.
From these defining stories emerges a dramatic portrait of the entire Emanuel family: tough Old World grandparents; a loving father who immigrated to the United States with twenty-five dollars to work as a doctor 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. While the brothers have distinguished themselves as individuals, Zeke credits the bond of Emanuel brotherhood as a major influence on the men they grew up to be. Walter Isaacson said of BROTHERS EMANUEL, “This delightful memoir is a deeply personal tale of one family, but it’s also about much larger things: America and tribal identity, love and rivalry, and the moral lessons to be learned as you grow up.”