Button Man
Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabinowitz grew up poor but happy in a tiny flat on the Lower East Side, until the death of their father thrust them into having to fend for themselves and support their large family. Morris apprenticed himself at twelve years old to a garment cutter in a clothing factory; Sol headed to college and became an accountant; and Harry, the youngest, fell in with a gang as a teenager and can’t escape. Morris steadily climbs through the ranks at the factory until he’s running the place and buys out the owner, and Sol comes to work with him. But Harry can’t be lured away from the glamour, the power, and the money that comes from working for mobster Louis Buchalter, an old bully from the neighborhood. And when Louis sets his sights on the unions that staff the garment makers’ factories, a fatal showdown is inevitable, and puts brother against brother.This new novel is equal parts historical thriller, rich with the detail of a vibrant New York City in the 1920s and 1930s, and family saga, based in part on Andrew Gross’s family history, and will cement his reputation as today’s most atmospheric and original historical thriller writer.

Button Man Details

TitleButton Man
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 18th, 2018
PublisherMinotaur Books
ISBN-139781250179982
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, New York

Button Man Review

  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsButton Man is a historical novel about one man who fought back against the against the corrupt, mob-led unions during the 1930’s. The main character, Morris Raab, is based on Gross’s grandfather--this novel serves as a beautiful tribute to those who went against the grain and challenged those in power. Morris Raab, the son of Jewish immigrants, grew up poor on the Lower East Side. When he was just 12 years old, he dropped out of school and began working in a garment factory. His keen 4.5 starsButton Man is a historical novel about one man who fought back against the against the corrupt, mob-led unions during the 1930’s. The main character, Morris Raab, is based on Gross’s grandfather--this novel serves as a beautiful tribute to those who went against the grain and challenged those in power. Morris Raab, the son of Jewish immigrants, grew up poor on the Lower East Side. When he was just 12 years old, he dropped out of school and began working in a garment factory. His keen observation skills enable him to gain a promotion that sets him up to own his own business in the future. Morris not only has talent but also he has moxie and fights back against bullies as both a teen and adult, setting him up to go head-to-head with Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, a notorious mobster. Covering the 1920’s-1930’s, Gross paints a vivid picture of the time period, the immigrant experience, and the mobsters who were controlling the unions. The reader gets to know the entire Rabishevsky family and understanding their history helps to better understand Morris’s behavior. At times, the characters speak Yiddish but the translation is provided. Gross did his research and transports the reader back to this time period in New York.Characterization is one of the strongest elements of the novel. By the end, I felt like I knew Morris. Gross doesn’t sensationalize or romanticize the mobsters; they are presented as full-fleshed characters who often make bad choices. There is a little bit of violence, but it is not over-the-top. I found this to be an absorbing and emotional read--I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy this time period and reading about the immigrant experience.
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  • Liz
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful historical novel, based on the author’s grandfather. “Don’t let the yarmulkes fool you… these people will cut you blind.” It wasn’t just the Irish or the Italians that were into crime and gangs in the 1920s and 30s. The Jewish crime lords got into the protection racket, specifically controlling the unions. When their father dies in a fire, the Rabishevsky children all have to find ways to contribute. Morris leaves school at 12 to learn a trade in the garment business. His old This is a wonderful historical novel, based on the author’s grandfather. “Don’t let the yarmulkes fool you… these people will cut you blind.” It wasn’t just the Irish or the Italians that were into crime and gangs in the 1920s and 30s. The Jewish crime lords got into the protection racket, specifically controlling the unions. When their father dies in a fire, the Rabishevsky children all have to find ways to contribute. Morris leaves school at 12 to learn a trade in the garment business. His older brother Sol becomes an accountant and middle brother Harry falls in with the wrong crowd. Gross does a wonderful job painting a picture of the place and time. He also fully fleshes out each character, with each character’s POV being presented. Gross blends real people such as Louis “Lepke” Buchalter with the fictional Raab brothers. I felt like I learned a lot with this book. Not just about the mob controlled unions, and the attempts to take them down, but also the life of immigrants in NYC. For example, the discrimination the Eastern European Jews had from the German Jews who had arrived generations earlier. There’s a real tension here once the battle truly starts. I kept turning pages because I was so anxious to see how this would play out. This is heart pounding suspense. What is so sad to realize is the sheer number of folks that were paid off by the mobs. This is the first book by Gross I have read but I intend to seek out his earlier books. I recommend this to everyone that enjoys historical fiction. My thanks to netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for an advance copy of this book.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    Impressive! My first book by Andrew Gross, Button Man will not be the last of his books I read! Three brothers are living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s when their father passes away. Each chooses a different path in life. Morris becomes an apprentice in a clothing factory at a young 12-years-old. Sol is studious and eventually becomes an accountant. Harry is pulled into the Jewish mob. Morris is a grade school dropout and works his way up the ladder in the garment busine Impressive! My first book by Andrew Gross, Button Man will not be the last of his books I read! Three brothers are living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 1900s when their father passes away. Each chooses a different path in life. Morris becomes an apprentice in a clothing factory at a young 12-years-old. Sol is studious and eventually becomes an accountant. Harry is pulled into the Jewish mob. Morris is a grade school dropout and works his way up the ladder in the garment business until he is able to buy out the owner, and Sol eventually joins them there as en employee. As much as they try, Sol and Morris cannot get Harry to leave the prestigious mob life behind. Eventually their “work” lives intersect when the mob boss gets involved with the garment unions. How will the brothers resolve this dangerous confrontation? Button Man appealed to me for many reasons. It is a historical thriller, and I’ve not read many of those. I figured the history part would be easier, but would it truly be thrilling? It absolutely was! Button Man is also a story of family, and those are always among my favorites. Here the family dynamics had a historic backdrop with the depression, growth of the garment business, and proliferation of the mob. An atmospheric and compelling tale, Button Man is the story of a family in the pursuit of the American Dream. Three brothers, each with their own paths, have the same ultimate goal. Will they find success, and at what cost? This book is inspired by Gross’ grandfather’s life. The author’s note is not to be missed. Thank you to the most generous St. Martin’s Press for the ARC. All opinions are my own.My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    Manhattan's Lower East Side was home to the Rabishevsky family from Minsk. Many new immigrants in the 1920's and 1930's lived in ramshackle tenements with poor lighting and non-working furnaces. Various gangs of thugs bullied the "newest" immigrants. Upon the death of Jacob Rabishevsky, Bella and her six children were at a crossroads. Morris, the youngest, left school determined to learn a trade. Sol gave up his dream of accounting school. Harry, feeling he was held responsible for his twin brot Manhattan's Lower East Side was home to the Rabishevsky family from Minsk. Many new immigrants in the 1920's and 1930's lived in ramshackle tenements with poor lighting and non-working furnaces. Various gangs of thugs bullied the "newest" immigrants. Upon the death of Jacob Rabishevsky, Bella and her six children were at a crossroads. Morris, the youngest, left school determined to learn a trade. Sol gave up his dream of accounting school. Harry, feeling he was held responsible for his twin brother's death, started to mix with hoodlums.Morris Rabishevsky aka Morris Raab was a feisty twelve year old. He convinced Mr. Kaufman, owner of the Majestic Garment Company to hire him to sweep floors and perform odd jobs. However, Kaufman's advise was "keep your eyes open and learn". Morris learned! He watched the marker maker lay out pattern pieces for the best yield and least wastage. He watched the fabric cutter's shears and observed the notching of pattern pieces. At age twenty, Morris was running the company until it was sold after Kaufman's death.Walking home from work was much more of a challenge. With paycheck in hand, carrying a bag of onions and turnips, Morris was accosted by Louis Buchalter, newly released from reform school. Buchalter and his "toughs" told Morris it would cost one dollar to pass them in the alley. Morris chose to fight for the right to pass. Punches were exchanged. Morris Raab and Louis Buchalter would meet again years later.Morris had accumulated enough expertise to start his own garment enterprise. Rabb Brothers, a fledgling business, was co-founded with brother, Sol. Morris had a tough business reputation. His goal was to produce quality women's fur-collared coats by purchasing supplies from hand selected, tried and true suppliers. In the late 1920's, gangsters started to take over trade unions. Companies had to pay up and play by the rules or be forced out of business. Intimidation and fear tactics were used to collect union dues, a veritable "license to steal". While Harry Rabb hobnobbed with the gangster set, highly principled Morris was determined to buck the stranglehold imposed by gangsters."Button Man" by Andrew Gross was an excellent historical novel that painted a picture of immigrant life in 1920's and 1930's New York, the garment industry of the Lower East Side, and the mob's control over unions. Many Russian and Eastern European immigrants found work in the garment district. My great-grandfather became a dressmaker and my great-uncle, a blouse pattern maker. This novel was especially noteworthy for me. Thank you, Andrew Gross!In the spirit of Morris Rabb, the unwavering main protagonist, I have included the lyrics to a song penned by country music recording artist, Aaron Tippin. The message of this "American working class" song is to stand up for your beliefs.YOU'VE GOT TO STAND FOR SOMETHINGLYRICS by AARON TIPPINNow Daddy didn't like trouble, but if it came along Everyone that knew him knew which side that he'd be on He never was a hero, or this county's shinin' light But you could always find him standing up For what he thought was right He'd say you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything You've got to be your own man not a puppet on a string Never compromise what's right and uphold your family name You've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anythingThank you St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review "Button Man".
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 for this novel This story is about the beginnings of the garment industry in New York.The story is of Morris Raab, youngest child of a large Jewish family, poor, in 1915, taking a full time job at a garment factory and learning all there was to know. 12 yrs old with a 6th grade education, at the onset, he eventually comes to own the place.This is also the story of the unsavory Jewish mobsters, gangs, and Union Leaders during those years.I liked this story so much... what a stronghold these u 4.5 for this novel This story is about the beginnings of the garment industry in New York.The story is of Morris Raab, youngest child of a large Jewish family, poor, in 1915, taking a full time job at a garment factory and learning all there was to know. 12 yrs old with a 6th grade education, at the onset, he eventually comes to own the place.This is also the story of the unsavory Jewish mobsters, gangs, and Union Leaders during those years.I liked this story so much... what a stronghold these unions had during these years! I also loved the personal story of this family.This was based on a true story which makes it even more interesting!Thank you to Netgalley and St.Martins Press for the digital ARC!
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!4.5 Stars”Oh, take it slowly, don't live too fastTroubles will come, troubles will passYou'll find a woman and you'll find loveJust remember my son, there is someone up above“And be a simple kind of manOh, be something you love and understandBaby be a simple kind of manOh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can” -- Simple Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd / Sawyer Fredericks, Songwriters: Songwriters: Gary Rossington / Ron Van Zandt Morris Rabishevsky, his brothers Sol and Harry, and th !! NOW AVAILABLE !!4.5 Stars”Oh, take it slowly, don't live too fastTroubles will come, troubles will passYou'll find a woman and you'll find loveJust remember my son, there is someone up above“And be a simple kind of manOh, be something you love and understandBaby be a simple kind of manOh, won't you do this for me, son, if you can” -- Simple Man, Lynyrd Skynyrd / Sawyer Fredericks, Songwriters: Songwriters: Gary Rossington / Ron Van Zandt Morris Rabishevsky, his brothers Sol and Harry, and their older sisters Anna and Bess, lived on the Lower East Side, but when their father died, that meant someone had to provide for their family. Although Morris was then only twelve years old, he went to work in the garment industry, originally sweeping floors at the Majestic Garment Company. At the owner’s suggestion, he changes his last name to Raab.Navigating the Lower East Side in 1915 wasn’t an easy walk home, having to avoid or negotiate with young wanna-be gangsters who make him fight in order to hold onto his money on payday. It wasn’t long before Morris would find a way to work his way straight up the ladder to marker maker. An eye for detail and a strong determination to make something of himself, for himself, and for his family fed by the determination of a young boy with his eye on a better future. By the age of twenty, Morris is running the company, and then he and brother Sol begin their own company, Raab Brothers. He’s determined to make this an even bigger business, and begins landing more business with bigger department stores with chains, and Sol keeps busy with the books. As for their more sociable, easygoing brother Harold, he seems to attract a more dishonest, corrupt, crowd. Among them is Louis Buchalter, the wanna-be gangster who tried to convince Morris to hand over his money years ago. A man who has taken the liberty to rule the garment unions. Based on author Andrew Gross’s grandfather’s life, this is a story that covers the immigration of Jewish families in the early 1900s, through the hardships of life in the 1920’s and 1930’s and beyond, those few men who stood strong against organized crime, who put their own lives on the line in order to see them brought to justice. Andrew Gross made me feel as though I were walking beside Morris as these events unfolded, as this novel wound through the lives of the different characters, the different places, I felt as though I could see it all, feel every emotion, and I loved being drawn into his story. Pub Date: 18 SEP 2018Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press / Minotaur Books
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it even more than “The One Man”...Character Driven- FABULOUS OLD FASHION STORYTELLING.Morris Raab is especially an inspiring character!!!
  • Laura/Mystery in Minutes
    January 1, 1970
    Button Man by Andrew Gross is a semi-biographical account of the Jewish immigrant and first generation experience in America in the early 1900's, as well as a classic tale of the forces of good against evil. This historical novel of suspense takes the reader on the life journey of Morris Rabishevsky, a character based, with some embellishment, upon the life of Mr. Gross’s own grandfather. With Jewish cultural traditions and translated Yiddish sprinkled throughout, we go from Morris’s early and h Button Man by Andrew Gross is a semi-biographical account of the Jewish immigrant and first generation experience in America in the early 1900's, as well as a classic tale of the forces of good against evil. This historical novel of suspense takes the reader on the life journey of Morris Rabishevsky, a character based, with some embellishment, upon the life of Mr. Gross’s own grandfather. With Jewish cultural traditions and translated Yiddish sprinkled throughout, we go from Morris’s early and humble beginnings in his family’s overcrowded, Lower East Side tenement, to his need to leave school at only age twelve to navigate the mean streets and go to work to help support his mother, his siblings, and himself after his father dies, to the hard work, determination, and chutzpah that helped him escape poverty, and go “from rags to riches”.Morris’s ambition, drive, and savvy enabled him to eventually own his own garment business, despite his lack of a formal education beyond the sixth grade. Yet some of Morris’s Lower East Side peers took a very different path in life. Beginning in the late 1920's, they organized criminal syndicates that coerced, racketeered, and generally terrorized those that did not “play by their rules” in many New York industries, including within the garment industry.Button Man - an ingenious title with the dual references to both a killer for hire, as well as to the book’s protagonist as a man of the clothing industry - is a highly atmospheric story, filled with the smoky speakeasies of the Prohibition era, as well as many prominent figures of the time, such as movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, Yankee luminary Babe Ruth, musician Al Jolson, comedian Jack Benny, and even actual gangsters of the period like Jacob “Gurrah” Shapiro, and Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Given that the main thrust of the novel involves the mob, Button Man’s unflinching cruelty can shock at times, and its language can sometimes be authentically pejorative. But it is the poignancy of Morris’s relationship with one of his brothers, a brother whose sense of self-worth suffered, and who was never quite able to shake himself free from a traumatic childhood event, that effected this reader most profoundly.Andrew Gross’s homage to his grandfather is a period piece with heart-tugging emotion, gripping suspense, a surprising twist, and a wonderful sense of place (even if the place at that time wasn’t always so wonderful for everyone). Button Man reminds us that acts of courage by even just “a few good men”, and standing up for what is right, can often make a difference of lasting and positive change for many.4.5/5 Stars.Blog | Twitter | Facebook
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Based in part on his family’s history, Andrew Gross brings to life 1920’s/30’s New York City as the evolving garment industry dramatically impacts this vibrant city. An extremely engaging read with some good guys and plenty of bad guys. Morris is my favorite, a great character who is compassionate, hard-working and principled. As hard-working immigrants go about their business earning an honest living, their burgeoning industry is being targeted by pioneering racketeering bosses of the American Based in part on his family’s history, Andrew Gross brings to life 1920’s/30’s New York City as the evolving garment industry dramatically impacts this vibrant city. An extremely engaging read with some good guys and plenty of bad guys. Morris is my favorite, a great character who is compassionate, hard-working and principled. As hard-working immigrants go about their business earning an honest living, their burgeoning industry is being targeted by pioneering racketeering bosses of the American mafia; extortion and corruption is rampant and putting the industry in a chokehold. Such a compelling story - historical fiction at its best!
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  • abby
    January 1, 1970
    Button Man opens in the tenements of the lower east side at the turn of the century and follows the life of Morris Raab, the child of Jewish immigrants who has a hardscrabble upbringing. Morris gets into the garments industry, which makes him a target of Jewish gangsters who are using unions to terrorize immigrant communities throughout New York. Do what they say, buy what they say, pay what they say... or else. But Morris didn't get where he is in life by lying down and taking abuse. He does wh Button Man opens in the tenements of the lower east side at the turn of the century and follows the life of Morris Raab, the child of Jewish immigrants who has a hardscrabble upbringing. Morris gets into the garments industry, which makes him a target of Jewish gangsters who are using unions to terrorize immigrant communities throughout New York. Do what they say, buy what they say, pay what they say... or else. But Morris didn't get where he is in life by lying down and taking abuse. He does what no one else dares; he says no to the unions. His defiance will either save everything he's worked so hard for, or cause him to lose more than he can imagine.I'm not sure what happened to the Andrew Gross who wrote The One Man, which was easily one of my favorite books of 2016, or whether it is a matter of me maturing as a reader or that book simply being a one-off, but none of Gross's subsequent efforts have matched its standard. I give Button Man credit for tackling a unique subject matter for historical fiction, but it's honestly just an average book at best. It's a slight better than Gross's 2017 offering, Saboteur, but not much. The book gets off to a strong start, especially with the prologue, but stagnates as the story progresses. The plot is extremely simplistic. But Gross's biggest problem is that he can't write action, especially action dialogue, without producing a bad cop drama. It's painful to read. This is not an author I plan to continue reading in the future.
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  • The Real Book Spy
    January 1, 1970
    Set in the 1930s, brothers Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grow up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of a struggling, poor Jewish family just looking to get by. At the young age of twelve, Morris drops out of school and takes an entry-level job with a clothing manufacturer, sweeping floors and doing odd jobs to earn a small paycheck each week. It’s clear from the beginning, though, that Morris, who is savvy and tough, has greater ambitions than pushing a broom around for the rest of Set in the 1930s, brothers Morris, Sol, and Harry Rabishevsky grow up on the Lower East Side of Manhattan as part of a struggling, poor Jewish family just looking to get by. At the young age of twelve, Morris drops out of school and takes an entry-level job with a clothing manufacturer, sweeping floors and doing odd jobs to earn a small paycheck each week. It’s clear from the beginning, though, that Morris, who is savvy and tough, has greater ambitions than pushing a broom around for the rest of his life. So, while excelling at the duties given to him, he also strives for more, constantly watching those around him and learning the business side of the trade in hopes of climbing the career ladder. Over time, that’s just what Morris does, quickly making his way up the ranks until he’s essentially running the whole operation at the ripe age of twenty. It’s around this time that Morris, now going by the last name Raab because it’s easier to say, has his first run-in with the mob, who have a monopoly on the garment industry, charging ridiculously high union fees and demanding owners only buy materials from their approved retailers. Morris, who is tough in part because of how fast he had to grow up, and also because of how hard he’s worked to get where he’s at, doesn’t just nod along and smile during the shakedown like other business owners. Instead, he. . . Read the rest of the review here: https://therealbookspy.com/2018/08/05...
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  • Eadie
    January 1, 1970
    The Button Man is an historical family saga set in the lower east side of New York City during the 20's and 30's. It's a story of the Rabishevsky brothers, (Morris, Sol and Harry) and how they learned a new trade to help support their family. They became garment workers but had to fight the Italian mob who forced them to pay high union fees and only buy their materials from certain vendors. Add to this the corrupt police and you have a plot that moves quickly and painfully for the Rabishevsky fa The Button Man is an historical family saga set in the lower east side of New York City during the 20's and 30's. It's a story of the Rabishevsky brothers, (Morris, Sol and Harry) and how they learned a new trade to help support their family. They became garment workers but had to fight the Italian mob who forced them to pay high union fees and only buy their materials from certain vendors. Add to this the corrupt police and you have a plot that moves quickly and painfully for the Rabishevsky family. The characters are very realistic as the story is based on the author's grandfather's story and is essentially a good vs. evil tale that Andrew Gross is well adept at telling. I have read some of Gross' thrillers but I like his historical novels the best. This is one that will live in your memory long after you turn the last page. I would highly recommend it to those who like to read about New York and the Italian mob. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advanced copy for an honest review.
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  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross has written a historical novel, using his grandfather and his grandfather's experiences, for the character of Morris Raab. Real events and real people are used as the story depicts the beginning of organized crime in New York. The story starts in 1905, when Morris is two years old and takes us through his fight against the criminals that ruled New York's garment industry. Morris was a hard headed, hard working, determined man, who learned at a very early age that the only way to mak Andrew Gross has written a historical novel, using his grandfather and his grandfather's experiences, for the character of Morris Raab. Real events and real people are used as the story depicts the beginning of organized crime in New York. The story starts in 1905, when Morris is two years old and takes us through his fight against the criminals that ruled New York's garment industry. Morris was a hard headed, hard working, determined man, who learned at a very early age that the only way to make it in the brutal life of a poor Jewish boy, growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, in New York (or in the Army), was to fight his way out of any situation. At first, as organized crime took over almost aspects of the garment industry, Morris just ignored any warnings or threats that he needed to fall in line with other business owners. Finally though, the thugs who were willing to maim, murder and destroy people and companies, made it impossible for Morris to stand back and that's when Morris tackled the impossible job of beating the criminals that even had law enforcement in their pocket. I do think that a particular violent sequence may have been overdone in that it seems like it would have been impossible for a person to survive all the damage done to him. Still, it was exciting and also very enlightening, to read the thoughts going through the character's head, as he worked to survive what was happening to him. I admire all the people who tried to stand up to murdering criminals and can understand why they might just give up or give in, when their lives and countless other lives, were at stake. This book is about family, forgiveness and the unwillingness to forgive, friends, of being forced to decide if crossing the line of an honest life to bending a knee to criminals, was worth the loss of self respect. So much was at stake for Morris, his family, and all the honest, hard working people, during organized crime's heyday in New York. Andrew Gross has every reason to be proud of his grandfather's legacy and did a great job of honoring him with this book. Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC.
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  • Faith
    January 1, 1970
    This was very repetitive. It exceeded my tolerance for mob/manufacturer confrontations. This is my third attempt with this author and I liked only "The One Man", which was excellent. I think it may have been a fluke.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Minotaur Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and when you couple that with a thriller-pace story then I’m hooked! BUTTON MAN was my introduction to Andrew Gross and I can’t believe I’ve never picked up any of his other books before.This is set in 1930’s New York, just after Prohibition and at the height of the mafia power in the Unions. We follow the stories of three brothers – Sol, Harold, and Morris Ra Thank you to Minotaur Books for the free copy in exchange for my honest review. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, and when you couple that with a thriller-pace story then I’m hooked! BUTTON MAN was my introduction to Andrew Gross and I can’t believe I’ve never picked up any of his other books before.This is set in 1930’s New York, just after Prohibition and at the height of the mafia power in the Unions. We follow the stories of three brothers – Sol, Harold, and Morris Rabishevsky. Jewish boys growing up in a poor area of New York just trying to keep their family afloat. Hard work pays off when Sol is a successful accountant and Morris is running a garment manufacturing facility. Harry is still trying to find his way and gets mixed in with the likes of known gangsters.Morris and Sol go into business together to start their own garment manufacturing business, but when the gangsters catch wind of it they begin to feel the pressure to unionize (really just making sure the mafia gets their cut).For a historical fiction novel this moved at a fast pace. I found myself completely engrossed in the lives of the Raab brothers. The hardships they faced early in life and continue to because of where they grew up – the judgment and stereotyping was a very real thing. With brothers that didn’t back down and stood up for themselves, this proved to work against them when the mobsters wanted to get their cut of their successful business. I did love that there was Yiddish sprinkled throughout the book. My dad’s side of the family is Jewish and I definitely grew up hearing it, we even have a book of Yiddish at home still.Between the setting, the culture, and the violence from the mafia, this felt so authentic and the characters were brought to life. This isn’t too heavy on the historical part of the genre, so don’t let that deter you from picking it up.
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  • Pam
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you NetGalley for this 4.5 star thrilling historical fiction read that’s based on a true story — the aithor’s grandfather. Be sure to read the acknowledgements at the end. Part Untouchables, part Sopranos this story focuses on three first generation Jewish immigrant brothers. Two rise up in the garment trade. The other gets involved with gangs and ultimately the garment union mob. A little slow to start but then you’ll not want to put this one down.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
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  • Sharon May
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur Books, and Andrew Gross for the opportunity to read his latest book. If you aren't familiar with Andrew Gross' work - you need to be! His books are always wonderful and typically teach you some part of history that really stays with you.This book takes us back to the Depression and the garment industry in NYC, where the mobs disguise themselves as union people and own the companies. Three brothers - Sol, Harry and Morris - have to earn a living when their fathe Many thanks to NetGalley, Minotaur Books, and Andrew Gross for the opportunity to read his latest book. If you aren't familiar with Andrew Gross' work - you need to be! His books are always wonderful and typically teach you some part of history that really stays with you.This book takes us back to the Depression and the garment industry in NYC, where the mobs disguise themselves as union people and own the companies. Three brothers - Sol, Harry and Morris - have to earn a living when their father dies to help their mom take care of the rest of the kids. Sol is the bright one who wants a career as an accountant. Harry has struggled since a childhood accident where he feels at fault and ends up with the wrong crowd. Morris is the tough one - he talks himself into a job in a garment factory at the age of 12 and works his way up to own the company. As fights with the union mobs increase, the brothers become at odds with each other.A suspenseful, rich book that is based on Gross' family history - don't miss it!
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  • Pattyh
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview the Button Man by Andrew Gross. I have been a fan of Andrew Gross' novels for along time. His departure from current to the 1930's is something that I wasn't sure I would like - but surprisingly, I do.Gross manages to integrate his own family history into a novel that involves family drama, intrigue, and lots more with a flair.This is a solid novel that I suggest Gross fans should indulge. Good book.
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  • Greville Waterman
    January 1, 1970
    I like it when an author changes tack mid career and Andrew Gross seems to have rediscovered himself and found a new niche writing historical thrillers.I enjoyed this book from the start as the story immediately drew me in and it developed into a wonderful family saga featuring Morris, a young man of drive and determination who refused to give in to the pressure of gangsters and corrupt police and union officials and eventually made it in the rag trade.Not without cost as he lost one brother at I like it when an author changes tack mid career and Andrew Gross seems to have rediscovered himself and found a new niche writing historical thrillers.I enjoyed this book from the start as the story immediately drew me in and it developed into a wonderful family saga featuring Morris, a young man of drive and determination who refused to give in to the pressure of gangsters and corrupt police and union officials and eventually made it in the rag trade.Not without cost as he lost one brother at a young age and needlessly became estranged from another.I often compared this to Dennis Lehane’s trilogy of New York gangster novels and this bears comparison which is high praise indeed.This book was written from the heart as it is based on one fo Mr Gross’s own forebears and I am sure he would be proud of this offering if he could read it as it is a novel of real power and literary quality.Highly recommended.
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  • Tracie Runge
    January 1, 1970
    I think I have found another author that will be making his way to my favourites list. A well written storyline, an engaging family saga and a thrilling read. I could feel the authors passion while reading his word and this had me engrossed in this story throughout
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  • Owl._.
    January 1, 1970
    This book ranks among one of the top I've read this year. Fantastic!! From start to finish, I was completely enthralled. This is one novel you definitely want to read this year!!! Thank you #netgalley and #stmartinspress for the eARC.
  • Adrienne
    January 1, 1970
    An engrossing story of rampant crime in New York City's garment industry, during a period when it was being controlled by gangsters.is It is based on the author's grandfathers life. It was particularly interesting to me, as I know many people who also lived through this nightmarish period I and can easily relate. Well done Mr. Gross, you must, as well you should, be so very proud of your of your courageous grandfather.
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  • Cheryl
    January 1, 1970
    I was first introduced to Mr. Gross and his work when I read a few of the books that he collaborated with Mr. Patterson. When Mr. Gross debuted his first novel by himself, I was hooked. Since than, I have been a fan of his. Although, I am behind some in reading every book from Mr. Gross, I can always count on him to deliver. I can assure you that Mr. Gross did deliver with this book. Instantly, I felt like I was living in the 1920's and 1930's. Morris, Sol, and Harry brought the story to life. M I was first introduced to Mr. Gross and his work when I read a few of the books that he collaborated with Mr. Patterson. When Mr. Gross debuted his first novel by himself, I was hooked. Since than, I have been a fan of his. Although, I am behind some in reading every book from Mr. Gross, I can always count on him to deliver. I can assure you that Mr. Gross did deliver with this book. Instantly, I felt like I was living in the 1920's and 1930's. Morris, Sol, and Harry brought the story to life. My favorite is Morris. He really strived to make the best man out of himself that he could be. He helped to inspire his brother Sol. He tried with Harry but Harry was hurting. I believe that Harry would have taken a different path in life if it was not for the loss of his twin when he was younger. He blamed himself and for this reason; Harry turned to a life of crime. If you enjoy this time period or just looking for a great book to read, you need no look any further than this book. I could not stop reading. From the first page to the very last page, I was in it for the long haul. Mr. Gross really does take me on a journey filled with engaging characters and a wonderful story in Button Man!
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  • Paul
    January 1, 1970
    Andrew Gross’s Button Man is the fictionalized story of Gross’s grandfather’s life. It is the details of the city, the shakedowns of the wise guys, and the understanding of family. Although Morris’s story is always enjoyable and interesting, there is great strength in the shifting points of view. The special task force put together by Thomas Dewey. The hit squad to sever the reach of one mob family. The younger brother who has lost his way. Gross has a great talent of presenting a time, a place, Andrew Gross’s Button Man is the fictionalized story of Gross’s grandfather’s life. It is the details of the city, the shakedowns of the wise guys, and the understanding of family. Although Morris’s story is always enjoyable and interesting, there is great strength in the shifting points of view. The special task force put together by Thomas Dewey. The hit squad to sever the reach of one mob family. The younger brother who has lost his way. Gross has a great talent of presenting a time, a place, and the people who live in those confines.For my full review: https://paulspicks.blog/2018/09/04/bu...For all my reviews: https://paulspicks.blog
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    Immigrants in the 20's and 30's, the Rabinowitz family was dealt two tragic blows in one day. Those tragic incidents would shape the future of the boys, Morris, Sol and Harry. They were already barely making ends meet and now with the death of their father, dreams must be put on hold as the boys must become wage earners while still children.Morris, became an apprentice in the garment industry at just 12 years old! Even at 12, he knew his worth. He was a quick learner and didn't back down to anyo Immigrants in the 20's and 30's, the Rabinowitz family was dealt two tragic blows in one day. Those tragic incidents would shape the future of the boys, Morris, Sol and Harry. They were already barely making ends meet and now with the death of their father, dreams must be put on hold as the boys must become wage earners while still children.Morris, became an apprentice in the garment industry at just 12 years old! Even at 12, he knew his worth. He was a quick learner and didn't back down to anyone. And this was a problem with the union bosses and mobs controlling every inch of the garment industry and to go up against them was deadly.While Sol became an accountant, he eventually went into business with Morris. Harry would make a much different choice with his life. To join the mobsters. Harry likes money. And women and the big flashy life of the gangs working for Louis Buchalter.But who will he stand with when the big boss comes for the garment industry and his brothers. Because Morris isn't backing down. Ever.Based on his own family history, Gross tells the story so well. With great historical accuracy and characters that were inspiring.Netgalley/September 18th 2018 by Minotaur Books
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  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Another fabulous historically based story from Andrew Gross. This time we are in NYC during the rise of the unions. The Raab brothers grow up with some challenges, face some of them together as adults, yet always return to family. Fantastic insight into the creation of the unions (and mobs!) I always read Andrew Gross's books as soon as they are released! I think he has found his niche with historical literary fiction! Keep 'em coming!
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  • Maine Colonial
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher, Minotaur, for providing an advance reviewing copy.This is a compelling story of the immigrant experience in 20th-century New York. You’ve got family, organized crime, historic New York. It’s a little bit like a Jewish version of The Godfather, except the main character resists the mob instead of being part of it.You can read the plot description, so I won’t go into it. The characters are strong, and Andrew Gross smoothly mixes his fictional characters’ lives with real pe Thanks to the publisher, Minotaur, for providing an advance reviewing copy.This is a compelling story of the immigrant experience in 20th-century New York. You’ve got family, organized crime, historic New York. It’s a little bit like a Jewish version of The Godfather, except the main character resists the mob instead of being part of it.You can read the plot description, so I won’t go into it. The characters are strong, and Andrew Gross smoothly mixes his fictional characters’ lives with real people, places and events. He writes so vividly I could easily imagine the book being dramatized. I will note, though, that there is only a barely discernible female presence in the book, which could reduce the appeal for some readers.Let’s face it, this isn’t literary fiction. Still, it’s a good story, both dramatically and historically. There were a few things that didn’t ring true (like some discussion about what the main character was paid at different times), but it’s atmospheric as all get out. At bottom, it’s just good, page-turner entertainment.
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  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    "Button Man" is the story of three brothers growing up in New York City. They will go in three different directions: Morris seeks a career in the garment industry, Sol will eventually join him, and Harry will be thrown into a direction that will put his life in danger. It's the early 20th century in NYC and the mob is king. Morris and Sol will fight to get Harry out from the mob's clutches. I love family sagas and this one is a great one. The three brothers are very different from each other but "Button Man" is the story of three brothers growing up in New York City. They will go in three different directions: Morris seeks a career in the garment industry, Sol will eventually join him, and Harry will be thrown into a direction that will put his life in danger. It's the early 20th century in NYC and the mob is king. Morris and Sol will fight to get Harry out from the mob's clutches. I love family sagas and this one is a great one. The three brothers are very different from each other but the importance of family has been instilled in them since they were very young. After losing their father, all three brothers deal with the fallout in very different ways. I liked seeing their personalities shine through as they grapple with trying to carve out a life for themselves and their family when things are terribly difficult. The writing of the book was good. There were a few places that I felt the book could have been streamlined but overall, the book is nicely paced. The setting is fantastic and the historical detail that the author uses really worked for me. New York City is one of my favorite cities and I loved seeing this side of it. I had no idea about the origins of the unions that still to this very day wield a lot of power over this city. I loved how the author was able to weave in so much detail without bashing the reader over the head with it (always tricky for authors). There's a fine line there and Gross is on the right side of it!I really enjoyed this book for the family story and the detail! This was a good historical fiction that almost feels like a thriller in some places (it's no wonder - Gross's other books have mostly been thrillers). This was a good read!
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  • 3 no 7
    January 1, 1970
    “Button Man” by Andrew Gross reaches into history to tell family stories couched as a thriller. New Yok City in the 1920s and 1930s is overcrowded and dangerous. It is filled with family tradition, cultural values, and even a little humor, but it is also overrun with organized crime, union power, mob control, widespread murder, and just plain nastiness. Even the title “Button Man,” the slang term for a hit man, reflects the mood of the era. This is a family story that centers around three brothe “Button Man” by Andrew Gross reaches into history to tell family stories couched as a thriller. New Yok City in the 1920s and 1930s is overcrowded and dangerous. It is filled with family tradition, cultural values, and even a little humor, but it is also overrun with organized crime, union power, mob control, widespread murder, and just plain nastiness. Even the title “Button Man,” the slang term for a hit man, reflects the mood of the era. This is a family story that centers around three brothers in the women’s garment industry, (Something distinct and very different from the “fashion” business.) They love each other, betray each other, and seek forgiveness and redemption.Gross pulls readers into the story right from the start and keep us turning the pages all the way through. The author draws directly from his own family to create complex and believable characters and complements them other historic figures who weave in and out along the way. It is a first-generation story with strong characters, heart pounding suspense, and a payoff at the end. I received a copy of “Button Man” from Andrew Gross, St Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, and Net Galley. It was an engrossing and absorbing. I anxiously await the next in this series of historic-based family stories.
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