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Margalit Fox is a reporter for The New York Times. She holds bachelor's and master's degrees in linguistics from Stony Brook University and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Omfatter også følgende navne: Margalit Fox (author), Маргалит Фокс

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“The aim of the department store…was to foment desire,” Margalit Fox writes in The Talented Mrs. Mandlebaum, creating an “epidemic of longing” fueled by advertisements. The American housewife not only longed for a showplace home, it was socially required. But how could a middle class income support such a lifestyle?

Criminals stole goods and fenced them, and then they were sold at discount. The public was happy, and the criminal organization was very happy.

One of the most successful criminal operations was run by Mrs. Fredericka Mandelbaum in whose drawing room could be found the wealthy and priviledged class. She was a remarkable woman, beloved by her family, a philanthropist, involved in her synagogue; a successful business woman and crime boss with a loyal cadre of thieves who called her ‘Marm’–mother.

Margalit Fox takes readers deep into Marm Mandelbaum’s life and world, from her specially designed shopfront with hidden rooms for stolen goods to her luxurious black silk dresses dripping with diamonds. It took decades, but the Pinkertons finally introduced a mole into her operation to get evidence of wrongdoing. Then, she fled and lived for decades in Canada!

A large, imposing woman, characterized in cartoons and newspaper illustrations with grotesque Jewish characteristics, her intelligence must have been remarkable. As a German immigrant in the late 19th c. her options for providing for her family was limited. But I can imagine that had she been a man, she could have been anything–perhaps a tycoon of industry, a Pinkerton detective, or a political boss.

True crime lovers will relish this biography of a forgotten, once infamous, crime boss.

Thanks to the publisher for a free book.
… (mere)
nancyadair | 1 anden anmeldelse | May 2, 2024 |
Fredericka was the daughter of German Jews and immigrated with her husband, Wolf Mandelbaum, a year after the birth of their first child in 1850. Together they settled in Kleindeutschland, or "Little Germany," in NYC. With limited prospects for women at this time, she took the opportunity to become the protégée of master fence, "General Abe" Greenthal. With him she established lucrative relationships and became an expert in appraisal. By the end of the 1850s, "Marm" Mandelbaum was a full-blown entrepreneur. In 1864, she opened her own shop and eventually an entire building in 1873. After years of building an empire, her downfall in 1884 would be at the hands of the one and only Pinkertons.

Fredericka Mandelbaum lived a life quite unlike any other woman of her time and was as successful as any gangster, crime boss, or robber baron. However, by the end of this book, I still felt like I only knew the bare facts of her life. It's said she became "renowned as a mentor to underworld women" and made several connections across state lines, but how? Where's the talent? It's said that her longtime attorneys went to "lavish extremes in her defense" before her final fall but in what way? Of her husband Wolf and her protégée Sophie Lyons, I learned only little, and her son Julius is non-existent until he is arrested. Fox certainly sets the scene with the ins and outs of the game. It covers the rise of the highly-skilled shoplifters and burglars (including major heists,) the corruption of Gilded Age NYC, and even whole chapters on 18th c. extortionist Jonathan Wild and detective Allan Pinkerton. Fox describes her as an attentive wife and mother, a generous synagogue-goer, an otherwise upstanding member of her community, but there's nothing in the book to support that. Sadly, Mandelbaum appears as a background character to her own story.
… (mere)
asukamaxwell | 1 anden anmeldelse | Apr 21, 2024 |
Quick, fun read for those, like me, have always viewed mysterious scripts as the ultimate "secret codes" — so much more interesting than the simple alphabetic ciphers that I could see no challenge in even as an 8-year-old. Now, an unknown script recording an unknown language — that's a challenge! Fox does a great job of breaking down the strategies and the staggeringly immense amount of painstaking work necessary to solving such a puzzle, perhaps the greatest puzzle possible in cryptography. She makes it readable and does a great job of bringing in the human characters (eccentrics all, as they probably have to be) who take on these puzzles as their life task.… (mere)
john.cooper | 36 andre anmeldelser | Mar 23, 2024 |
I was very excited by the underlying story of the book. While there were lots of details about the scheme, which makes The stuff on Hogan’s heroes look very practical and down to earth…. I just felt like I didn’t get much flavor of the protagonists…. And what I did get wasn’t always palatable.
Then, there is the fact that they did not actually escape.
The last chapter , where the author talked a bit more about the con mens private lives was probably most enjoyable for me, plus some of the behind the scenes hints on “mentalist,” tricks… (mere)
cspiwak | 6 andre anmeldelser | Mar 6, 2024 |



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