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The Fly Swatter: How My Grandfather Made His Way in the World

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
From the author of the bestselling "Catcher Was a Spy" comes the remarkable chronicle of his grandfather, Alexander Gerschenkron, a Russia-born, Viennese-trained economist who transformed himself into a singular American character.
Hardcover, 353 pages
Published May 7th 2002 by Pantheon Books
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Chris
May 18, 2008 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: Kerry
Dawidoff chronicles the life, intellectual development and scholarship of his grandfather, ("The Great") Alexander Gerschenkron (1904-1978)("Shura" for short); the Russian-born Austrian expatriate, Harvard economics historian and all around "man who knew everything". The early chapters are interesting biography, the later chapters are an outline of Shura's education and scholarship, including an overview of Gerschenkron's decently sized but obscure economics work - which is still apparently ...more
Pattieb
Apr 20, 2008 Pattieb rated it it was amazing
Nicholas Dawidoff spends 341 pages tracing the life of his grandfather, Alex Gerschenkron, from revolutionary Russia through pre-Nazi Vienna, and finally to Harvard via Berkeley.

I picked this up at our local American Corner (run by the Embassy) and wasn't quite sure if it would hold my interest. Gerschendron was an economics prof at Harvard in the late 50's through late 60's - possible a boring subject. But he turned out to be fascinating. He could have easily chaired three different departments
...more
Emily C.
Jun 08, 2014 Emily C. rated it liked it
OK, I am giving up on this book. Some of it was interesting, and I was almost finished with it, but it has slowed down a lot and I just can't make the final push to get through it. While the detail in this book is amazing, it never really grabbed me, and I feel like most people have a grandfather whose life could be worthy of a biography. Read it for a glimpse of pre-war Ukraine, of Harvard during the time he was there, and the changing nature of what it means to be a professional economist.
Leaflet
Aug 29, 2012 Leaflet rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
One night I forgot to take my Kindle to work. Desperate for something to read during lunch break, I rummaged among the meagre piles of castoff books lying forgotten on top of a coatrack in the breakroom, and came across this surprisingly interesting biography of Harvard prof. Alexander Gerschenkron, written by his grandson.
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