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The Philadelphian

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  106 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Touted by its original publisher as an exposé and indictment of blue-blooded Philadelphia society, the late Richard Powell's The Philadelphian was released to rave reviews and later became the 1959 Oscar-nominated film, The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman and Robert Vaughn.

The Philadelphian was an immediate national bestseller, and in the 50 years since its deb

Paperback, 323 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Plexus Publishing (NJ) (first published 1956)
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Deborah Leigh
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
NO SPOILERS. This book is plot-driven more than story-driven, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The author takes you through the many events that lead up to the life of the Philadelphian of the title, and then he takes you through the title character's life. There is very much a through-line, but it consists of "moments in the plot" versus a "complicated story".

The reason it still absolutely rates five stars is that it is extraordinarily well-written. Richard Powell's ability to draw an a
Jun 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
this was a decent read. i have to admit, i skimmed all the stuff about tony in the war. i always enjoy reading about philadelphia, even if it's fiction.

but dude. i do not get the obsession with "society" and the lengths people will go to to be a part of it. i suppose that there is still a "philadelphia way of life" and "society" that i don't know about. i don't fit in in those circles.

apparently the movie is terrible.

would i read this again? no. but i wouldn't disrecommend it to anyone either.
Rick Claypool
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
A rather well-written and well-structured novel telling the inspiring story of how, through determination and wits, impoverished immigrants can in a few generations can produce a hot shot lawyer who joins high society, helps corporations dodge tax liabilities, and generally betrays his struggling ancestors' class interests (because that's what they would have wanted).
Feb 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Wish there was more about the older generations. Fun reading a book set in Philly. Overall good. Much better than the movie that was based on it.
May 15, 2008 rated it liked it
Oh man, what a delight this was to read. Now mind you, it only gets three start cause its structure was pretty conventional (sometimes boring and predictable) and it wasn't badly written per se, but it wasn't exactly literature.

But what this was a love letter to Philadelphia and even though it was written 50 years ago, it captures the same crazy devotion many of us have today.

Plot: a poor Irish lass escaping famine travels to the US, becomes a maid, seduces the young son of the fancy society peo
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of R. Powell that I have read, many years ago while still in college, and loved the story very much! It might have been written as an expose at the time, but for me, it's a story of the real struggles a boy went through, and the tough decisions he had to make as a man to beat the odds. An excellent read!
Jamie Kulyarit
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have read this book in Thai edition. First time i looked at the book, i hesitated to start reading because of its thickness. Finally, i took just only 3 days to finish feeling like i couldn't put it down. The story is good. I also fall in love with all characters in this book but the third part broke my heart.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: x2015-16-season
A classic that builds slowly through three generations of ancestry, before following the life of the main character from school to war to work, all within the confines of regimented Philadelphia society.
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: novel-lawyer
I read the Readers Digest condensed version because it was available and I knew it wouldn't take me long to read it. I'm sure I would have liked the original version because I do like lawyer books. It was a good book. If I ever have time I would read the longer version.
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read the Readers Digest Condensed version. Although the morals of the story are sometimes doubtful but it fabulously written, haven't enjoyed a story this much in a long time!
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
La storia delle tre donne è bellissima.
La stora del protagonista è piuttosto scontata, ma gradevole.
Ricordo il film con Paul Newman abbastanza piacevole, ma nulla più.
May 07, 2014 added it
Same story - immigrants moving up in society - Philadelphia references only thing enjoyable about the book . . .
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I read this book in five days - I barely finish books in three months, let alone less than a week. I really enjoyed Powell's writing style and unique story-telling sense. This was quite enjoyable.
Jessica Coulter
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was ok
I had to read it for my History of Philadelphia class. It was an enjoyable book but I would not have read it otherwise. I only found it enjoyable due to its Philadelphia references.
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Richard P. Powell, a graduate of Princeton University, was a journalist and worked in advertising before becoming a full time writer. Two of his books, 'the Philadelphian' and 'Pioneer, Go Home!' were best-sellers in the '50s and were both adapted into movies.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.
More about Richard Powell...

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