The Last Angry Man

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Categories: Mainstream
Publisher: RosettaBooks | Date published: 01/29/2002


The seismic shifts in American life in the years following World War II have inspired several generations of novelists, but few have described the fallout of those changes as poignantly and with as much understanding as Gerald Green did in The Last Angry Man, published in 1956. At a time when the world had begun to focus on angry young men, Green created a magnificently angry old one as his hero. Based on his father, the title character is a doctor and a man of principle whose life's work is about to be examined for the first time. Dr. Sam Abelman is tough and irascible, but he is dedicated healer and a good man guided by a belief in basic human decency--the right doctor for the poor and disadvantaged who fill the slums and tenements of Brooklyn. His relationship with his patients is sometimes explosive, especially as the world is changing and becoming more dangerous. Into this mix comes a hard-driving television producer, who learns about Dr. Abelman and wants to feature the doctor on his reality-based network show, Americans USA. To get Abelman to participate is not easy, and it calls for schmoozing that verges on a complete con of the principled old man. As tragedy looms, Abelman, whose difficult life is a living testament to his beliefs, becomes a true hero in the eyes of producer, for all the reasons that made him an impossible subject for the show. The Last Angry Man is dedicated to "Samuel Greenberg, M.D. 1886-1952," the father of the author who practiced medicine in the heart of Brooklyn's cultural melting pot. Gerald Green knew his father's world, but he had left it as an adult. As he developed as a novelist, he became a writer, director and producer at NBC-TV in its early days. His behind-the-scenes knowledge of the emerging television industry was thorough and complete, and his perspective allowed him--almost 50 years ago--to understand the acute irony of applying media celebrity to such a man as his fictional hero, Dr. Sam Abelman. The Last Angry Man is written with passion and fierce affection, and it also richly captures the raucous energy and the tough humanity of a now-vanished New York.

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