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Rich Man, Poor Man

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  24,481 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Rich Man, Poor Man is the story of two brothers whose contrasting natures reflect the turmoil of post-war America. Rudy is the rich man - a romantic who would let no one stand between him and success. Tom is the poor man - the black sheep of the family on the run from his violent past.
Mass Market Paperback, 666 pages
Published July 15th 1971 by Dell (first published 1969)
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Mark R.
Jan 28, 2008 Mark R. rated it it was amazing
This is the fourth, and best, book I've read by Irwin Shaw, and having completed it, I feel that it will be a good idea for me to read everything else he ever wrote. There are many ideas and themes related throughout the course of its 600 or so pages that made me stop and think before continuing reading, and that made me think later on in the day, or the next day.

The story follows two brothers and a sister, all very different, and how their lives affect each other throughout the course of a quar
Shahr Baran
Jun 23, 2015 Shahr Baran rated it it was amazing
این کتاب را من با نام داراوندار ترجمه اقای مهدی افشار خواندم ..رمانی جذاب وخوشخوان از داستانهای امریکایی ..
داستان با جنگ جهانی دوم به سال 1945 آغاز میشود ..داستان واقعگراست ویک خانواده امریکایی را به نمایش میکشد .خانواده ای که در پی یک سری حوادث در روابط پنهان واشکار با بیرون وجامعه پیوند میخورند .در نهایت کیفیت وجودی جامعه امریکایی را برای ما نشان میدهند ..یعنی نویسنده باز افرینی واقعیت میکند ایرون شاو با زبردستی وتوانایی خاص نفسیات خانوداه جورداش را در بخش های جداگانه که در عین حال به طور قدرت
Karen M
Sep 28, 2011 Karen M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, fiction
If only all books were this good.

The story of three siblings who started life in a dysfunctional family, each with their own personality, striving for a better life.

The eldest, Gretchen, who accepted help from a wealthy man and willingly paid his price, ends up becoming an independent woman but only after many years have passed.

Rudolph, the golden child not just to his mother but also to other people as he climbs the ladder of success with hardwork and honesty which can't save him from great dis
Христо Блажев
Богат, беден, вечен:

Както за “Дракула” на Брам Стокър, така и за “Богат, беден” на Ъруин Шоу не виждам смисъл да пиша обичайно ревю, в което да се отнасям в обяснения за сюжета, неговите течения, водовъртежи и дълбини. Тая книга е много лична за мен – в изданието, което виждате долу вдясно (мнозина ще го разпознаят с лекота), съм я чел поне седем-осем пъти, и дълго време я считах за любима своя книга (после дойдоха “Сянката на вятъра”, “Мидълсекс”, “Добро
Mar 01, 2015 Boris rated it liked it
A book about the three Jordache siblings Rudolph, Gretchen and Thomas with charakters that couldn't be more different from one another.
Born into an everything than well off family of an avaricious father who immigrated from Germany to America after the first world war and an Irish careworn mother they are raised without any love and lots of reproaches.

Rudi is the parent's favourite child, the eyeball of the family. He's intelligent, ambitious and calculating (not in a bad way, but still...)

So sad I didn't read it when it was a huge success back in the 90's because now, even when I really enjoyed, it seemed to me a little old fashioned. It's catchy and you get involved in it, but the style and the story itself seems so... 90's! The typical american story of success, with the "dark" side of poverty and failure, portrayed in the "poor man". This last one, Thomas, ended up being, in my opinion, the most wonderful character. Not only because of his final sacrifice, but because he seeme ...more
Steven Kent
Jul 09, 2009 Steven Kent rated it really liked it
Like so many Americans in the 70s, I fell into Shaw's grasp after seeing the mini-series version of Rich Man, Poor Man. As I understand it, this was the first mini series. It was soon followed by Roots, Winds of War, about a dozen Sidney Sheldon stories, and more.

After seeing the mini series I read the book and found fell in love with it. This is the story of two brothers, one is a good student, a natural leader, and destined for the good life. The other is a trouble maker and a gifted fighter.

Victoria Evangelina Belyavskaya

I read the book in Russian, and span through its 500+ pages in a couple of days: it is such an easy, vivid read, and the characters really drew me in. I kept on expecting more drama, though, more of conclusion... I guess, the genius of the book is in the characters, who, with their strengths and weaknesses are just people. They are not "archetypes" but simple people, traumatized by the childhood in different degrees and coping with it through their lives as they can and see possible. I liked Rud
Sep 13, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the time that I read this, way back in high school days, I’m sure I would’ve given it the full five stars. I hadn’t thought much about it since. Then, a few weeks ago, as I was reminiscing about it with my culturally astute wife, her comment was something like, “Oh yea, wasn’t that a night-time soap?” Thinking back, I suppose it was. They made a mini-series out of it that featured a young Nick Nolte as the black sheep brother – the edgier one, quick with his fists.

I recall getting caught up
Jun 20, 2007 Kim rated it liked it
This is another one I pulled off my dad's bookshelf when I was maybe 17 or 18. I remember there were some racey sex scenes. At my (ahem) tender age I was more than a little shocked either of my parents would have anything like that on their bookshelves, and surprised they didn't mind my reading it too. Other than the sex, I remember very little about this book, except they made a TV mini-series about it in which several important parts were left out (like the sex seens) and characters were combi ...more
Gergana Karadjova
Закъснял прочит. Три звезди и половина "по номинална стойност", както казва в предговора Д. Иванов
Jun 12, 2015 Temz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Магията на книгата се крие именно в универсалността на сюжета. Читателят лесно може да се припознае в персонажите, да се влюби в тях, да ги заобича и по този начин да съпреживее случващото се до степен на личен катарзис. Езикът на Шоу е простичък наглед, но абсолютно стилистично издържан, а именно благодарение на този изказ (макар и тежък и не винаги особено оптимистичен) романът не допуска оставянето му. Атмосферата засмуква във водовъртежа на събитията и читателят се оказва прелистващ страниц ...more
Jan 01, 2014 Bogdan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-world
In my edition, this is only the first volume of Poor Man, Rich Man. It was interesting so far, but I am rather unsure about the novel and I will try not to judge it definitively. My main challenge so far is to identify the main book message or premise. I will wait for the second volume to tell for sure if the premise exists or not. So far, it seems that the first volume may be considered more a descriptive novel for Americas in the late 40s. To conclude, in terms of novel's premise, I must rate ...more
Mar 11, 2014 Radina rated it really liked it
The story is engrossingly written, as the narration is refracted through the thoughts of the main characters (the Jordache family), though written in third person.
The first figures of the rich and the poor men are Boylan and Axel Jordache which both influence the three children in their ways – the first through his money and power, and the other – through the impure, bad blood they share and the environment he was able to provide for them during their growing. The second figures are the two brot
Amanda Spacaj-Gorham
I read this one and its sequel back in high school (back in the 80's) and I'm surprised how much I remember from the book. It was probably the raciest book I'd read at the time, perhaps the shock that my mom had books like this(taken from the family book shelf) helped the rest of the novel stay fresh in my mind...perhaps it was all Shaw's talent which preserved passages so well. I really should re-read it and see how it strikes me now.

I can't say objectively if it's me today giving it 5 stars f
Anya Aksarova
Sep 27, 2015 Anya Aksarova rated it it was amazing
Если провести аналогию между писателями и стрелками, то Ирвина Шоу несомненно можно назвать снайпером-чемпионом. В первый раз я прочитала этот роман когда мне было совсем не много лет. И на тот момент я конечно же не могла всецело обьять весь тот пульсирующий поток времени и меняющиеся вместе с ним настроения Америки. Я очень внимательно вчитывалась в биографию всем давно полюбившихся героев. И совершенно напрасно это делала.

Дело в том, что та конкретика с которой Ирвин Шоу рассказывает о каждом
Jul 16, 2014 Linda rated it it was amazing
Read this in 1976 while I was vacationing in Nice in the south of France. I can't describe how real that story was to me on many levels, mostly an emotional one though. I especially had a sense of dejavu when I read that part of the story line that takes place in exactly the same location on the Mediterranean where I was staying at the time.

I count this book among my favorites of all time, not only because Mr.Shaw is a superb story weaver but his characters are uncannily realistic and well craft
Aug 16, 2015 Abc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mi è piaciuto molto questo romanzo e non me l'aspettavo. Avevo letto che parlava del fallimento del sogno americano, ma, ad un certo punto, mi sembrava che le vite dei tre fratelli Jordache si fossero sistemate e mi sono detta: "beh dai ce l'hanno fatta". Purtroppo poi arriva il crollo improvviso e devastante che annulla tutte le speranze.
Dei tre fratelli devo ammettere che ho tollerato poco il personaggio di Gretchen perchè l'ho trovato un po' insipido e inconcludente. Al contrario mi sono pia
Apr 10, 2013 Diana rated it it was amazing
The book is true, hard and cruel. It has no happy ending, but it's okay, because as hard to believe, human's life doesn't end happily. American dream that came true, French dream that came true. Poor are often unhappy and miserable, but wealth can't buy happiness as well. Money change people, either in a good or a bad way. How is it, to be a part of a difficult family? Characters change during the book, and a reader changes with them. It's true saga, worth of reading.
Artem Huletski
Jun 27, 2012 Artem Huletski rated it really liked it
Роман о людях, выбирающих разные дороги, о неоднозначности суждений и представлений о счастье. Кому "американская мечта", кому берег Франции. А ещё о настоящих поступках, которые могут искупить всё, так же, как неблаговидные поступки могут всё перечеркнуть.
Jun 06, 2012 Quentin rated it really liked it
A bit heavy on the soap, but always liked this one -- particularly the character of Tom Jordache. (Portrayed in the TV mini-series by Nick Nolte, back in the day when he was Joe Cool on-a-stick. What happened Nick?)
Feb 06, 2012 Glory rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the book to be very long and boring, but somehow the ending saves everything. I sure rather read books that I love from the first page, but at least this one had an ending that made it worth while.
Nov 26, 2008 Boni rated it really liked it
Regarding struggles and the coming together of an immigrant family living through the Great Depression and how their fortunes change through hard work and caring for each other.
Sep 18, 2007 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-age-07-11
This book affected me strongly as a pre-teen, which is why I rated it 5 stars.
Nov 27, 2015 Drew rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
Compared to "The Young Lions," "Rich Man, Poor Man" is a major disappointment. What starts off as absurdly salacious trash (A young virgin must choose between getting tag-teamed by horny soldiers and becoming a middle-aged man's mistress.) degenerates into triviality (The same woman must deal with the humiliation of going into the Twenty One club with rain-spattered stockings.) The men, Shaw's real "heroes," operate by a moral code that can self-justify any behavior. The book's lesson? Money sol ...more
Mark Stone
Sep 02, 2014 Mark Stone rated it it was amazing
There's no real plot here since Rich Man, Poor Man tells the story of two brothers and a sister that begins with them as teenagers and what happens in their adult lives after the end of World War II. This is--to put it as plainly and as strongly as I can--a tremendous story that engrosses the reader. It is full of interesting, complicated characters that seem real and the writing style is...whew, yeah, so GOOD. I can't say enough about the quality of writing.

And CANNOT WAIT to read the sequel "B
Nov 16, 2015 Patti rated it it was amazing
Wonderful story-telling. I read this, I know, years ago in college, probably after the mini-series on TV in the 70s. But I didn't remember the quality of the writing. The early chapters seemed to be going in a predictable direction, but once the three siblings were beyond their first stage of youth the story took off. A real page-turner with a marvelous sense of place (New York City in the 1950s, Provence, Los Angeles) and characters one cares about. The sequel, Beggarman, Thief was also well wo ...more
Oct 23, 2011 Alberteinsteinmaloney rated it really liked it
This eminently readable novel made me reluctant to do anything else for the entirety of the time I read it. At work, in my ceramics class, even walking the dogs, I was thinking about the characters, their lives, their tragedies, curious for their futures, hopeful for their success. The novel’s chapters (including Goodreads comments) largely focus on the brothers, Tom and Rudy; I, however, found Gretchen’s story quite enthralling. My only detraction from the novel would be that, while it touches ...more
Irina Silaeva
Dec 07, 2013 Irina Silaeva rated it liked it
This is a story about family emigrated from Germany to America. Axel Jordache is father of this family, despot and tyrant. His wife Mary Pease and his three kids dream to leave his house. Five characters and five strange people - they don't look like family or relatives.
Gretchen is the eldest child. She looks like shy and smart girl who helps in hospital. But under her pretty face and beautiful body is fallen woman! She becomes the lover of one rich man and change men during all her life! At t
Aug 13, 2013 Ron rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I read this book during my Junior year in high school,1972. This book of fiction, above all others, left a deep and permanent impression with me.

Its a never-ending ride. I believe it would be a huge injustice to label the book a soap-opera. I am not particularly fond of soap operas.

Lots of drama to be sure. Buts it more than a story about people. Its about success,redemption,heartbreak,love,love lost, death. You find yourself rooting for individuals as you become intwined within the story.

I ha
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Shaw was born Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff in the South Bronx, New York City, to Russian Jewish immigrants. Shaw was a prolific American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, and short-story author whose written works have sold more than 14 million copies. He is best known for his novels, The Young Lions (1948) and Rich Man Poor Man (1970).

His parents were Rose and Will. His younger brother, David Shaw
More about Irwin Shaw...

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