Why I Love Miami Beach

How Sweet It Is brings the reader back to Miami Beach in 1972. It was the time of the Republican convention. Celebrities like Frank Sinatra, Jackie Gleason (hence, the book’s title, derived from his famous catch phrase), Isaac Bashevis Singer, Muhammad Ali, Meyer Lansky — all were present in Miami Beach in those days. Rosenbaum imagines a dysfunctional family of Holocaust survivors having imaginary encounters with those characters. Thane Rosenbaum and I chatted about his new book.

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Miami Beach Launches One Book, One City

Miami Beach is proving the love of reading is not a lost art. There may be no hard and fast statistical data to back up that statement, but if the success of the inaugural One Book, One City program is any indication, then the proof is in the large number of fans who turned out to meet and enjoy readings from acclaimed author Thane Rosenbaum presenting his book “How Sweet It Is!”

One Book, One City is the latest offering from the forward-thinking leadership of Miami Beach to promote a sense of unity and community through the use of literature that depicts the city’s vibrant history.

So how does that translate for those who love to read? Miami Beach partnered with author Thane Rosenbaum, known for his critically acclaimed novels, The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, Elijah Visible, and his latest, How Sweet It Is! to bring the concept of a book club to the masses.

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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 http://www.thanerosenbaum.com/.

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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