Please contact Rachel Tarlow Gul

201-503-1321, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Advancing Diversity and Conservation in Publishing

Jewish and Latino/Latin American Focus

Boulder, CO (January 21, 2015) – To advance the works of the best writers of Latin and Latino America alongside the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America, Americas for Conservation + the Arts (AFC+A), a non-profit corporation, announces today that it has launched a publishing enterprise, Mandel Vilar Press (MVP).  MVP is dedicated to identifying important writers who have been overlooked by corporate publishers in order to majoritize historically marginalized voices. MVP’s forthcoming publications reflect the mission of AFC+A by promoting environmental awareness, social justice, and intergenerational as well as cross-cultural dialogue.

“I’m thrilled to launch MVP with Dr. Robert Mandel and his wife Dr. Dena Mandel. Dena – our main editor – is the best and fiercest reader I know,” said Vilar.  “Robert, as legendary publisher of Pantheon Books Andre Schiffrin, has made extraordinary contributions to the culture of the Americas by taking risk after risk over forty years with each of his valiant acquisitions authored by international writers. There is much to ponder about the health of a nation when its people don’t read across cultures, and I hope that MVP will help open up our cultural borders and will play a vital role in maintaining a healthy and vibrant democracy and cultural literacy.” 

Mandel added, “Irene and I are passionate about books and ideas, and through MVP we will be devoted to highlighting and publishing the numerous great writers overlooked by corporate publishers. MVP no doubt will live up to Franz Kafka’s mandate that ‘A book must be the axe of the frozen sea within us.’” 

MVP’s inaugural three titles arrive simultaneously as e-books and hardbacks in mid-April 2015. MVP’s first novel, HOW SWEET IT IS! by the critically acclaimed author, Thane Rosenbaum, offers readers a romp through the Miami Beach of 1972. Holocaust survivors Sophie and Jacob Posner and their American-born son, Adam, intermingle with historical personalities including Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, I.B. Singer, Meyer Lansky and even Fidel Castro. The Posner family finds that the solace they envisioned in the Sunshine State sadly, but often uproariously, eludes them.

In a book that combines history, mystery, and imagination, MVP’s second publication SEARCHING FOR WALLENBERG by the much-praised author, Alan Lelchuk, unravels past mysteries while navigating contemporary complications surrounding the unknown fate of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who saved thousands of Jews in Budapest from 1944 to 1945.

Arriving in time for baseball season, MVP also rejoices in the release of Alan Lelchuk’s BREAKING GROUND: How Jackie Robinson Changed Brooklyn, a revealing memoir about growing up in Brooklyn and the encounters between Lelchuk and his baseball hero, Jackie Robinson. 

In the fall of 2015, MVP will issue books by three celebrated Latin American and Latino authors. In September, MVP will publish an English translation of NEWS OF THE EARTH, by renowned Mexican writer and environmentalist Homero Aridjis and translator Betty Ferber Aridjis, who are key figures in the battles to save the monarch butterflies, sea turtles, and the gray whales.   NEWS OF THE EARTH is an environmental biography of the Aridjis’ lifelong relationship with the natural world as well as a history of the rise of environmental awareness in Latin America.

MVP is delighted to include in its Fall list a science fiction novel, WICKED WEEDS, by Pedro Cabiya, an acclaimed Puerto Rican writer, poet, and filmmaker. In the sci-fi world of WICKED WEEDS, a handsome and educated Caribbean zombie desperately searches for a chemical cure for his unwholesome condition.

MVP also celebrates the fall publication of a reprint in paperback and e-book, of Graciela Tiscareño-Sato’s award winning book of profiles, LATINNOVATING: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them, which showcases Latino-led innovation and entrepreneurship in the green economy.

MVP is managed by two experienced editors, Robert Mandel, Ph.D., the former director of five university presses, and AFC+A founder Irene Vilar, an accomplished memoirist, feminist speaker, and environmentalist. For two decades Mandel and Vilar’s collaboration resulted in the publication of ground-breaking books and translations authored by Jewish Americans, African Americans, Latin Americans and Latinos. Together, Mandel and Vilar successfully launched several major book series that resulted in the publication of over six hundred titles at Syracuse University Press from 1995 to 2000, the University of Wisconsin Press between 2000 and 2006 and Texas Tech University Press from 2008 to 2014. MVP anticipates similar success with the introduction of the following MVP book series: Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, American and World Jewish Literatures, and a New Shade of Green. MVP also plans to publish national libraries of conservation, literature, and culture for each country of the Americas beginning with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. 

Through these titles and other forthcoming series, MVP serves as a conduit of multicultural exchange and a crucial channel for advancing diversity in publishing and cultural production.  MVP endeavors to expand our cultural borders and play a vital role in maintaining a vibrant democracy by exploring and exposing the wealth of cultural literacy in the Americas.

How Sweet It Is! By Thane Rosenbaum


Contact:  Rachel Tarlow Gul

201.503.1321, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


How Sweet It Is!

By Thane Rosenbaum

Advance Praise:


“Fans of the greater Miami megalopolis rejoice! Finally there’s a novel that nails

your part of the world!”

— Gary Shteyngart, author of The Russian Debutante’s Handbook and Absurdistan


“A powerful time capsule: open its covers and you enter a bittersweet moment in American Jewish history. . . . It’s all here—gangsters, survivors, flower children, school integration, Yiddish literature, the Munich Olympics, and the strange and beautiful possibilities of catastrophe and renewal in the elephant graveyard of 20th century American Jews, Miami Beach. Dive in and enjoy!

—Dara Horn, author of A Guide for the Perplexed and The World to Come


How Sweet It Is! plunges its fictional character into the thrilling, dangerous and often absurd world of Miami in the 70s, and as a result the readers get to experience the historical events as if from the inside.  It’s that rare book that manages to be both intensely informative and a huge joy to read.

—Lara Vapnyar, author of There Are Jews in My House and Memoirs of a Muse



Set in Miami Beach in 1972, HOW SWEET IT IS! by critically acclaimed novelist, Thane Rosenbaum (Mandel Vilar Press Hardcover; April 2015; $24.95) 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. In ’72 Miami hosted both the Republican and Democratic political conventions and experienced the rise of the counterculture, the Cold War, and the desegregation of the old South.  In the style of E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime, HOW SWEET IT IS! is populated and enriched by the presence of many historical characters of the day including Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Muhammad Ali, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Meyer Lansky, and Fidel Castro. 


Miami Beach was to be the Posner’s salvation. Instead they discover that it is not a place of camouflage—all that sunshine highlighted the very things they wished to forget.


In this hilarious novel, Sophie becomes a key figure in the Jewish Mafia as crime boss Meyer Lansky uses her talents in a desperate attempt to restore the Jewish Mafia to its former glory by bringing legalized gambling to Florida.   Matching wits with the master Yiddish storyteller, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Jacob bemoans his fate at having to cope with Sophie, his irrepressible wife, and her new fame and relationships. And Adam acquires valuable lessons on standing one’s ground from the World’s fastest man, Bob Hayes, and learns to pitch out of a jam from an umpire who may or may not be Cuba’s dictator, Fidel Castro. The Posners find their lives quickly turning into a Disney World of funhouse mirrors and chaotic rides that give them front row seats through a transformational year in American culture, politics and world history.


For more information, please contact Rachel Tarlow Gul at Over the River Public Relations:

201-503-1321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


All MVP titles are distributed by Itasca Books 



Thane Rosenbaum is a law professor at NYU and 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. His articles, reviews and essays appear frequently in many national publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Huffington Post, among other national publications. A Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law, he is also the author of the nonfiction books Payback: The Case for Revenge and The Myth of Moral Justice: Why Our Legal System Fails to Do What’s Right. He is the editor of the anthology, Law Lit, from Atticus Finch to “The Practice.” His forthcoming book is entitled The High Cost of Free Speech: Rethinking the First Amendment.  For more information visit  




MVP – the nonprofit publishing arm of Americas for Conservation and the Arts ( – is dedicated to connecting the literature of the Americas by uniting the works of the best writers of Latin and Latino America with the leading ethnic and minority writers of North America. Publishing between four to eight titles in fiction and nonfiction each year, MVP issues works that are extraordinary and influential, works that are destined to become the classics of tomorrow.  Founded in 2015, MVP brings together the talents of two experienced editors, Robert Mandel and Irene Vilar. For two decades Vilar and Mandel’s collaboration resulted in the publication of important books and translations on Latin American, Latino, Jewish, and African American literature, art, politics, and culture. Together they created and launched two major Latin American book series totaling over fifty titles, The Americas— at the University of Wisconsin Press between 2000 and 2006 and again later at Texas Tech University Press from 2008 to 2014. Their longstanding collaboration now continues with the establishment of MVP.




By Thane Rosenbaum

ISBN: 978-1-942134-00-8; $24.95; 208 Pages

Mandel Vilar Press Hardcover; April 2015