Gospels of Wealth: How the Rich Portray Their Lives

Overview

There is fascination and suspicion about the wealthy. Yet there is a dearth of material in which the wealthy speak for themselves about the meaning of their lives. Gospels of Wealth provides such narrative material. This book is a novel venture in social science. It is the first book to have a broad range of wealthy individuals recount their lives in detail, and, importantly, the first to formulate a sociology of wealth that goes beyond conventional, power-elite, Marxist, and ...

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Overview

There is fascination and suspicion about the wealthy. Yet there is a dearth of material in which the wealthy speak for themselves about the meaning of their lives. Gospels of Wealth provides such narrative material. This book is a novel venture in social science. It is the first book to have a broad range of wealthy individuals recount their lives in detail, and, importantly, the first to formulate a sociology of wealth that goes beyond conventional, power-elite, Marxist, and status-group theories.

The authors begin with an analytical framework for studying the biographical narratives of the wealthy. Next, 12 contemporary Americans directly and vividly recount how financial and spiritual aspects of their lives unfold and invariably intertwine. A concluding section explores rules for interpreting the truth of moral biographies and for undertaking a critical assessment of such narratives. The book's theoretical framework and first-person accounts will appeal to general readers as well as researchers in sociology, American studies, philanthropy, economic life, and cultural studies.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275950941
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/8/1994
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.14 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

PAUL G. SCHERVISH is Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Social Welfare Research Institute at Boston College.

PLATON E. COUTSOUKIS is a research associate in the Social Welfare Research Institute at Boston College.

ETHAN LEWIS is Assistant Professor of English at Sangamon State University.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Wealthy and the World of Wealth 1
1 Brendan Dwyer: The Primacy of Ideas 19
2 Rebecca Jacobs: "Give Me Mexico, That's What I Want" 35
3 Benjamin Ellman: The Recipe for Entrepreneurial Success 59
4 Gretchen Dowell: The Uneasy Intersection of Wealth, Family, and Identity 77
5 Norman Stryker: Expunging the Guilt of Unmerited Wealth 111
6 Laura Madison: "The Call" 127
7 Ross and Beverly Geiger: God's Regents 147
8 Dale Jayson: "Just Strive for Perfection" 175
9 June Radkey: Launching a Business and Reconstituting Her Life 193
10 Thomas Cooke: The Moral Career of Patrician Wealth 213
11 Camile Russo: "What It's Really Like to Be Born Rich" 225
12 David Stephanov: "Them with the Gold Makes the Rules" 249
Afterword: Truth and Falsehood in Gospels of Wealth 267
Biographical Sketches 273
Selected Bibliography 277
Index of Biographical Narratives 281
General Index 283
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