Winter of 1925 brings nothing but trouble and confusion for Belgian immigrant and American entrepreneur Jakob Schleicher. Seventy-four years old and in ill health, he reflects on his fifty years of living in America. Based on true events, Jakob’s Story and the American Dream weaves myriad moving parts of late nineteenth and early twentieth century U.S. history into this mans’ life story.
“Every man’s journey is his private literature,” author Aldous Huxley once wrote. Reflecting on everything from his youth spent in Antwerp, Belgium to his quest for the American Dream, Jakob Schleicher penned his private literature into a memoir. As you travel back to America’s Gilded Age and discover Schleicher and his times, you’ll gain insight into the challenges all of us who pursue the American Dream experience.
After all, achieving the American Dream doesn’t always result in receiving exactly what we want. Jakob Schleicher's story is just one example of this hard truth.
“Anyone who has been an immigrant, has known an immigrant, or who has descended from an immigrant will find a great deal to ponder in Jakob's Story and the American Dream. Erik Varon weaves a compelling story of how Jakob Schleicher, a Belgian-born youth of German ancestry, was transformed into James Schleicher, an American businessman who dreamed of a world in which art and culture would triumph over national division.” —Robert Wojtowicz, Ph.D., Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Art History, Old Dominion University
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Table of Contents
1: A Foreign Time and Place
2: Reminiscences of an Old Man
3: A European Boyhood
4: Liberty Enlightening the World
5: The Otto-Langen Experiment
6: Jakob’s American Dream Begins
7: The Centennial Exhibition of 1876
8: Schleicher, Schumm & Company
9: A Twist of Fate
10: Industrialism, Progressivism and a Brief Retirement
11: The Philadelphia Caramel Company
12: The Three Uninvited Guests
13: The Great War
14: The Lawsuit
15: Jakob’s Declining Years
16: The Clock Winds Down
17: Lewis Mumford’s Closing Thoughts
About the Author