Miami Beach selects Thane Rosenbaum's "How Sweet it is!" for its One Book, One City initiative

Contact:  Rachel Tarlow Gul
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The City of Miami Beach has announced that in recognition of its Centennial celebration, it will launch a citywide book club reading experience titled, One Book, One City.  Its very first selection will be Thane Rosenbaum’s latest novel, HOW SWEET IT IS!, a literary, comedic tale set in Miami Beach in the summer of 1972.  A novelist, essayist and law professor living in New York, Rosenbaum was raised in Miami Beach and is arguably the city’s most critically acclaimed author/native son.


Mandel Vilar Press will create a special and elegant paperback edition of HOW SWEET IT IS! just for Miami Beach’s Centennial, which will be available by the end of September.  Readers will have plenty of time to read the novel and prepare for all of the fun events that will be taking place in November around the novel.


Citywide programming includes:

  • 11/4 – Kick-off event with Thane Rosenbaum at the Jewish Museum, 7pm.
  • 11/7 – Miami Beach Library Branch Read-A-Thon, 2-4pm in the auditorium
  • 11/15 – Book reading at the Betsy Hotel with Thane Rosenbaum, 7:30-8:30pm. 
  • 11/17 – Miami Beach Library Branch Book Discussion with Thane Rosenbaum, 6:30pm – 7:30pm.
  • 11/18 – South Shore Library Book Group Discussion, 6:30pm – 7:30pm.
  • 11/25 – Miami Beach Bandshell, Food Truck Rally, appearance with Thane Rosenbaum and locals from the 1970s, 7:30 – 8:30pm.

Thane Rosenbaum will also discuss and sign copies of HOW SWEET IT IS! at the Miami Book Fair International on either the 21st or the 22nd  of November.


Set during the historic and tumultuous year of 1972, HOW SWEET IT IS! follows the Posner family—two Holocaust survivors, Sophie and Jacob and their son, Adam—doing everything they can to avoid one another in a city with an infinite supply of colorful diversions. The book covers the antiwar movement, Watergate, sports (Super Bowl winning season, the Munich Olympics, and Muhammad Ali’s return to championship form), the rise of the counterculture, the desegregation of the south, the fading of the Jewish Mafia, the Rat Pack, and the wacky, poignant and hilarious gestalt of Miami in the 70s.



Thane Rosenbaum, who grew up in Miami Beach, is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and the novel-in-stories, Elijah Visible, which received the Edward Lewis Wallant Award for the best book of Jewish American fiction. He is also the author of three books of nonfiction, including The Myth of Moral Justice.  His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in many national publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and the Daily Beast, among other national publications. He is a Distinguished Fellow at New York University School of Law where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture & Society. For more information visit

The Jewish Advocate: Fictional Jews mix with real celebrities in 1972 Miami Beach

By Daniel M. Kimmel, Advocate staff

The summer of 1972 was an interesting moment in time, especially for Jews in Miami Beach. Both the Democratic and the Republican presidential nominating conventions were being held there that summer. Meyer Lansky, one of the last of the old-time Jewish mobsters, was holding court, having been barred from making aliyah to Israel. So was famed Yiddish novelist Isaac Bashevis Singer, having relocated from New York. It was a time when it was possible to run into Muhammad Ali, known as “the Greatest,” who was in training there, or Jackie Gleason, whose long-running TV show had been cancelled, but was still “the Great One.”

Into this mix author Thane Rosenbaum has added the fictional Posner family. Sophie and Jacob are Holocaust survivors whose marriage has produced a son, Adam, set to become a bar mitzvah that summer. Sophie is tough as nails and takes on Lansky at one of his poker games, winning his respect and becoming a trusted advisor. Jacob, who fought with the partisans, seems to have used up all his fight. Now he walks around Miami, occasionally having lunch with Singer, where the author prods him to tell his story. As for Adam, he feels he’s been left to raise himself, and finds some comfort in meeting football star Bob Hayes, a former Olympic sprinter. Adam is known as the fastest kid at his school, but doesn’t know if that still holds with the coming of integration.

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NJ Jewish News: Books in brief - Miami blues, Israeli dreamers

by NJJN Staff, May 27, 2015

A Florida fantasia "There is always an extra twist of weirdness at the end of the Florida story,” the crime novelist Carl Hiaasen once said. That Florida is on vivid display in How Sweet it Is! (Mandel Vilar Press), Thane Rosenbaum’s new novel set in Miami Beach in 1972. This is Miami Beach at the end of its heyday as a fun-in-the-sun resort and Jewish mecca, and before its rediscovery as an Art Deco playground for the rich and buff. Holocaust survivors, Cuban refugees, hasidic Jews, and transplanted northerners share the steamy streets, where Jackie Gleason is ending his run as the city’s unofficial ambassador, Isaac Bashevis Singer is holding court at his favorite cafeteria, and gangster Meyer Lansky is back home after an aborted attempt to find sanctuary in Israel.

All three real-life celebrities appear as supporting characters in the novel, which centers on the survivors Sophie and Jacob Posner and their 12-year-old son Adam. Sophie is a force of nature who becomes Lansky’s consigliere; Jacob is a ghost who wanders the coastal city draped in tennis whites and a caul of grim memories. Adam is a baseball and track star who can’t run away fast enough from his haunted parents.

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Jewish Journal Los Angeles: ‘How Sweet It Is!’ is a gangster’s paradise

by Jonathan Kirsch, May 27, 2015 | 10:44 am

The first voice you hear in the latest novel by Thane Rosenbaum, “How Sweet It Is!” (Mandel Vilar Press), belongs to the Great One himself, Jackie Gleason.

“Miami Beach is magical, but it is the magic of the dark arts,” Gleason is made to say. “Black magic masquerading as enchantment.” A Brooklyn boy who ended up as the self-styled “King of Miami Beach,” a fictional version of Gleason sets the scene of South Florida in 1972 — the glamorous hotels and nightclubs and eateries, the beaches and the blue sky, but also the “fleabags, flophouses, and eyesores,” the gambling dens and the strip joints: “For all the talk of radiant light, darkness shares equal billing in this variety show of a tropical paradise.”

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