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Set in Miami Beach in 1972, this novel 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. Miami Beach was to be the Posner's salvation. Instead they discover 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 history.



Thane Rosenbaum, author of the novels The Stranger Within Sarah Stein, The Golems of Gotham, Second Hand Smoke, and Elijah Visible (winner of the Edward Lewis Wallant Award), is a Senior Fellow at New York University School of Law, where he directs the Forum on Law, Culture, and Society.



"How Sweet It Is!, brilliantly and hilariously captures the Miami of 1972."—Huffington Post

"Rosenbaum’s writing is a joy to read...The story digs deeper and parses out that nostalgia in an unflinchingly funny novel . . . The character of Miami Beach plays a star role in the descriptions of the mingling cultures of Jews, blacks and Cubans. One can almost feel the strangling humidity, smell the fresh ocean air, and taste the babke and onion rolls from the Butterflake Bakery, the sponsor of Adam’s Little League team. How Sweet It Is takes on geopolitics while putting a face on white flight and immigration." —Jewish Book Council

"Florida is on vivid display in How Sweet it Is!, 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." —New Jersey Jewish News

"[T]he literary equivalent of a funhouse ride at Disney World. . . . [T]his is a book that is perfect summer reading, in that you could read a chapter, put it aside, and then come back and quickly pick up the thread. . . . For Rosenbaum, it's exploring those differences between then and now that makes this both a fun and thought-provoking romp."—Jewish Advocate Boston

"[A] larger-than-life drama starring Miami Beach, Florida, and the outsized personalities from the worlds of entertainment, literature, politics, sports and organized crime who happened to coincidentally inhabit it in the summer of 1972. . . . “How Sweet It Is!” is deliberately extreme, surreal and over-the-top comedic, reflecting the absurdity of renewing life after the Holocaust in paradisaical Miami Beach. . . . [A] novel in which all of the Posners’ Holocaust demons have been unleashed onto Miami Beach at the very moment it temporarily takes the global spotlight." —The Times of Israel

"Rosenbaum offers a clever, satirical look at Miami, with a slightly serious undercurrent. . . . The novel made me both chuckle and laugh out loud. Rosenbaum’s depiction of Miami Beach is astute and funny, offering everything from Jews kvetching because there are no good delicatessens to descriptions of the tropical summer downpours and the mixtures of nationalities and ethnicities within the city’s borders." —The Reporter Group

"This book is a comic pastiche—highly entertaining, unpredictable, and an exercise in cross-everything in a multicultural cocoon. . .[A] funny, enjoyable read, and a nostalgic look at a place and a time gone by." —Algemeiner

"This very funny novel is another page-turner . . . Rosenbaum is a very witty writer." —Kansas City Jewish Chronicle

“Selected by the City of Miami Beach as its Centennial Book”

“Fans of the greater Miami megalopolis rejoice! Finally there’s a novel that nails your part of the world!”—Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan, and Super Sad True Love Story

“A powerful time capsule . . . 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

“It’s hard to resist raising a toast to a book that shows Lansky, Frank Sinatra, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Muhammad Ali at a Little League Baseball game umpired by Fidel Castro. As Gleason would say, “And awaaaay we go!” —The Washington Post, June 7, 2015

“A smart, funny, rollicking and razor-sharp novel. —Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, May 2015

“Rosenbaum strives to balance moral seriousness with outrageous antic humor as he tries to make sense of . . . the Holocaust. . . . His character portraits are full of verve and bite. [M]any will enjoy his take on Miami Beach back in the day. How sweet it all was—in memory, anyway.” —Jewish Week


208 pages

How Sweet It Is!

  • Thane Rosenbaum

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