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Publisher's Summary

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 factory, and conducting interviews with members of his extended family. Along the way, the 40-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.

©2006 Rich Cohen; (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"A wealth of family history in this funny, angry, digressive memoir." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Rick
  • Oldsmar, FL, USA
  • 04-30-06

Leaves a bitter aftertaste

I was so looking forward to this story, but have been quite disappointed. The author goes off on so many tangents which ultimately don't add to the story. It feels like he had enough material for a really great investigative piece in a magazine or newspaper, but padded it out to book length. Also, the author's biases, while natural,are all too evident and therefore, distracting. Just okay.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Paul
  • Orange, CA, United States
  • 08-14-12

Smart, thought-provoking book

If you could sum up Sweet and Low in three words, what would they be?

Tough-minded, insightful

Any additional comments?

This book presents a smart, clear-eyed look at the complex dynamics surrounding family, food and money. It's also an interesting historical look at Brooklyn, 20th century Jews, and the evolution of the dieting industry. I liked the passion that the author put into reading his story.

  • Overall

a real treat

My most enjoyable listen so far. Humorous, interesting and well paced. The reading by the author enhances the experience. Well worth it for fans of history, dysfunctional family stories and memoirs alike

  • Overall
  • Ciara
  • Sunnyside, NY, USA
  • 03-12-07

Bad narration

I found the narration to be monotone and stilted so I could not get past the first thirty minutes. But even with those minutes, I wasn't convinced that I should care about this fmaily.