The Last Angry Man : A novel by Gerald Green
New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, 1956. Hardcover. 494 pages ; 22 cm. $4.50 dust jacket with a couple of tears along the edges. The date 1956 written on the back side of the dedication page. No other markings elsewhere. Binding is firm.
THE LAST ANGRY MAN
by Gerald Green
SAMUEL ABELMAN, M.D., 1553 Haven Place —they all knew him in that grimy Brooklyn district, the teenage hoodlums, the cops, the kosher butchers, the hymn-chanting members of the Wholy United Army of God. He tended his dwindling practice with angry devotion. In spite of his small fees and his brilliant diagnostic skill, his patients drifted away from him, because of his formidable tactlessness and his belligerent moralizing. A man of inexhaustible indignation, he conducted a one man campaign against "galoots" everywhere—the people who thought the world owed them a living. He didn't look like a doctor, or talk like one, and so they called him a failure. But his vigor and bawdy humor remained indestructible; and in a backyard of that Brooklyn slum he found serenity in his wildly flourishing garden, complete with a stand of corn. He emerges from the pages of this novel as one of the most powerful and appealing figures in recent fiction.
If Sam Abelman himself constitutes the heart of this remarkable novel, its richness of story derives from the doctor's impact upon a man from a wholly different world. That man is Woodrow Thrasher, vice president in charge of television in an important
advertising agency, who has conceived a new TV show, to be called Americans USA. As a subject for the show he has stumbled upon the doctor; and the planning of Americans USA takes Woody Thrasher— and the reader—on a voyage of discovery into the career of Samuel Abelman. From his childhood in poverty on the lower East Side, through his youthful jobs and battles (for muscular Sam Abelman fought everyone's light), his agonizing struggle to put himself through Bellevue Medical School, the experiences of a young doctor in the great influenza epidemic, his lasting friendships—the narrative pulses with the humor and vitality of Samuel Abelman. Along with that story runs another, oddly contrasted one—the story of the making of a TV show, a sharply observed, sardonic account of the bright, creative guys in narrow, dark suits from Madison Avenue and exurbia. And as Americans USA takes shape, still another story develops, concerning the doctor's dogged, outraged efforts to aid a teenage kid called Josh the Dill, leader of the Twentieth Century Gents.
In the profound effect that Dr. Abelman has upon Woody Thrasher, Gerald Green finds the theme of his novel—the great and disturbing difference between the doers of the world and the talkers. But he does not bring that theme to glib conclusions; he makes of it a deeply moving thing in the powerful and startling climax of the novel.
Born in Brooklyn, Gerald Green graduated from Columbia College (Phi Beta Kappa) and from the Columbia School of Journalism. After four years in the Army, he went to work for International News Service. Since 1950 he has been with the National Broadcasting Company, working in television. He was for several years Producer of the Dave Garroway Show "Today"; currently he is a Producer on "Wide Wide World." Mr. Green is the author of two previous books—His Majesty O'Keefe (in collaboration with Larry Klingman) and The Sword and the Sun. He is married, the father of three children.
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