Books

Chronicling the history of philanthropy and the economy through the lens of individual biographies and institutional histories, Eric John Abrahamson’s books are available on Amazon or from independent booksellers.

Building Home:

Howard F. Ahmanson and the Politics of the American Dream

Building Home is an innovative biography that weaves together three engrossing stories. It is one part corporate and industrial history, using the evolution of mortgage finance as a way to understand larger dynamics in the nation‘s political economy. It is another part urban history, since the extraordinary success of the savings and loan business in Los Angeles reflects much of the cultural and economic history of Southern California. Finally, it is a personal story, a biography of one of the nation‘s most successful entrepreneurs of the managed economy —Howard Fieldstad Ahmanson. Eric John Abrahamson deftly connects these three strands as he chronicles Ahmanson’s rise against the background of the postwar housing boom and the growth of L.A. during the same period.

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Beyond Charity:

A Century of Philanthropic Innovation

The Rockefeller Foundation became the model for the organization of large, private foundations in the United States in the 20th Century. Beyond Charity explores abiding themes in the management of foundations through powerful storytelling that explores the Rockefeller Foundation’s history over a hundred years.

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Anytime, Anywhere:

Entrepreneurship and the Creation of a Wireless World


With the launch of mobile telephony in the mid-1980s, wireless entrepreneurs created some of the fastest growing companies on the planet. Anytime, Anywhere tells the story of the birth and explosion of cellular and wireless communications as seen through the eyes of one of the industry’s pioneers, Sam Ginn. As deregulation and privatization swept the globe, Ginn and his team at AirTouch Communications fought for and won licenses on several continents. They built a successful business using strategic partnerships and joint ventures and demonstrated a new model for global entrepreneurship in an information-based economy. When AirTouch combined with Bell Atlantic in 1998, Verizon Wireless was born. 

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Spirited Commitment:

The Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation

Liquor baron and long-time president of the Canadian Jewish Congress Samuel Bronfman and his fellow philanthropist and wife, Saidye, were influential figures in the history of Montreal. They left a global legacy that continues to advance cultural, social, legal, political, and Jewish causes. Spirited Commitment, written with Roderick MacLeod, tells the story of the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation (SSBFF), which was one of the largest foundations in Canada for many years.

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