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In the tradition of Rich Cohen’s Sweet and Low and Sean Wilsey’s Oh the Glory of it All, a memoir of a city, an industry, and a dynasty in decline, and the story of a young artist’s struggle to find her way out of the ruins. Frances Stroh’s earliest memories are ones of great privilege: shopping trips to London and New York, lunches served by black-tied waiters at the Regency Hotel, and a house filled with precious antiques, which she was forbidden to touch. Established in Detroit in 1850, by 1984 the Stroh Brewing Company had become the largest private beer fortune in America and a brand emblematic of the American dream itself; while Stroh was coming of age, the Stroh family fortune was estimated to be worth $700 million. But behind the beautiful façade lay a crumbling foundation. Detroit’s economy collapsed with the retreat of the automotive industry to the suburbs and abroad and likewise the Stroh family found their wealth and legacy disappearing. As their fortune dissolved in little over a decade, the family was torn apart internally by divorce and one family member's drug bust; disagreements over the management of the business; and disputes over the remaining money they possessed. Even as they turned against one another, looking for a scapegoat on whom to blame the unraveling of their family, they could not anticipate that even far greater tragedy lay in store. Featuring beautiful evocative photos throughout, Stroh’s memoir is elegantly spare in structure and mercilessly clear-eyed in its self-appraisal—at once a universally relatable family drama and a great American story.
"In the beginning we were happy. And we were always excessive. So in the beginning we were happy to excess." With these opening lines Sean Wilsey takes us on an exhilarating tour of life in the strangest, wealthiest, and most grandiose of families. Sean's blond-bombshell mother (one of the thinly veiled characters in Armistead Maupin's bestselling Tales of the City) is a 1980s society-page staple, regularly entertaining Black Panthers and movie stars in her marble and glass penthouse, "eight hundred feet in the air above San Francisco; an apartment at the top of a building at the top of a hill: full of light, full of voices, full of windows full of water and bridges and hills." His enigmatic father uses a jet helicopter to drop Sean off at the video arcade and lectures his son on proper hygiene in public restrooms, "You should wash your hands first, before you use the urinal. Not after. Your penis isn't dirty. But your hands are." When Sean, "the kind of child who sings songs to sick flowers," turns nine years old, his father divorces his mother and marries her best friend. Sean's life blows apart. His mother first invites him to commit suicide with her, then has a "vision" of salvation that requires packing her Louis Vuitton luggage and traveling the globe, a retinue of multiracial children in tow. Her goal: peace on earth (and a Nobel Prize). Sean meets Indira Gandhi, Helmut Kohl, Menachem Begin, and the pope, hoping each one might come back to San Francisco and persuade his father to rejoin the family. Instead, Sean is pushed out of San Francisco and sent spiraling through five high schools, till he finally lands at an unorthodox reform school cum "therapeutic community," in Italy. With its multiplicity of settings and kaleidoscopic mix of preoccupations-sex, Russia, jet helicopters, seismic upheaval, boarding schools, Middle Earth, skinheads, home improvement, suicide, skateboarding, Sovietology, public transportation, massage, Christian fundamentalism, dogs, Texas, global thermonuclear war, truth, evil, masturbation, hope, Bethlehem, CT, eventual salvation (abridged list)—Oh the Glory of It All is memoir as bildungsroman as explosion.
Journalist Amy Haimerl and her husband had been priced out of their Brooklyn neighborhood. Seeing this as a great opportunity to start over again, they decide to cash in their savings and buy an abandoned house for $35,000 in Detroit, the largest city in the United States to declare bankruptcy. As she and her husband restore the 1914 Georgian Revival, a stately brick house with no plumbing, no heat, and no electricity, Amy finds a community of Detroiters who, like herself, aren’t afraid of a little hard work or things that are a little rough around the edges. Filled with amusing and touching anecdotes about navigating a real-estate market that is rife with scams, finding a contractor who is a lover of C.S. Lewis and willing to quote him liberally, and neighbors who either get teary-eyed at the sight of newcomers or urge Amy and her husband to get out while they can, Amy writes evocatively about the charms and challenges of finding her footing in a city whose future is in question. Detroit Hustle is a memoir that is both a meditation on what it takes to make a house a home, and a love letter to a much-derided city.
The problem with most personal finance and investing books is that they complicate simple ideas and contain so much detail nobody ever actually reads them. Beer Money is different. It can be read in an afternoon and presents financial concepts using something you're already familiar with: Beer. Beer Money is organized as a “Pub Crawl to Financial Success.” Each chapter is a clear, actionable step with guidance on financial decisions you may face. Excruciating detail such as valuation metrics for stocks, estate planning, complicated options strategies, etc. are NOT part of this book. Beer Money is written for anyone who wants the basic building blocks of personal finance and investing.You'll learn the differences between investing in stocks, bonds, real estate and commodities. You'll see how to best use a retirement plan like a 401(k), how to budget better and the importance of insurance. There are examples of different investment portfolios, automatic saving and spending plans and a discussion about the different types of investment accounts such as Traditional and Roth IRA's. The use of beer, easy to understand text and pictures (yes, pictures!) and humor make this a book you will actually read and understand. So grab a cold six pack and a comfortable chair and get started on your own pub-crawl to financial security. Cheers!
While in recent years Detroit's craft beer scene has exploded with activity and innovation, brewing has a long history in the Motor City. Small brewers popped up during the mid-1800s to support nearby saloons. Many breweries survived the dry years by producing "near beer," or non-alcoholic beer, which was quickly abandoned after Prohibition. Consolidation marked the following decades until only Stroh Brewery Company remained. Local brewing returned triumphantly with dozens of breweries opening their doors since the 1990s, including Motor City Brewing Works, Atwater Brewery and Kuhnhenn Brewing Company. Join author and Motor City Brew Tours founder Stephen Johnson for Detroit history by the pint.
"Every life is different, but every death is the same. We live with others. We die alone." In his riveting, artfully written memoir The Autobiography of an Execution, David Dow enraptured readers with a searing and frank exploration of his work defending inmates on death row. But when Dow's father-in-law receives his own death sentence in the form of terminal cancer, and his gentle dog Winona suffers acute liver failure, the author is forced to reconcile with death in a far more personal way, both as a son and as a father. Told through the disparate lenses of the legal battles he's spent a career fighting, and the intimate confrontations with death each family faces at home, THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM DYING offers a poignant and lyrical account of how illness and loss can ravage a family. Full of grace and intelligence, Dow offers readers hope without cliché and reaffirms our basic human needs for acceptance and love by giving voice to the anguish we all face--as parents, as children, as partners, as friends--when our loved ones die tragically, and far too soon.
Sweet and Low is the amazing, bittersweet, hilarious story of an American family and its patriarch, a short-order cook named Ben Eisenstadt who, in the years after World War II, invented the sugar packet and Sweet'N Low, converting his Brooklyn cafeteria into a factory and amassing the great fortune that would destroy his family. It is also the story of immigrants to the New World, sugar, saccharine, obesity, and the health and diet craze, played out across countries and generations but also within the life of a single family, as the fortune and the factory passed from generation to generation. The author, Rich Cohen, a grandson (disinherited, and thus set free, along with his mother and siblings), has sought the truth of this rancorous, colorful history, mining thousands of pages of court documents accumulated in the long and sometimes corrupt life of the factor, and conducting interviews with members of his extended family. Along the way, the forty-year family battle over the fortune moves into its titanic phase, with the money and legacy up for grabs. Sweet and Low is the story of this struggle, a strange comic farce of machinations and double dealings, and of an extraordinary family and its fight for the American dream.
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