Abraham Cahan (1860-1951) was a Lithuanian-born American communalist newspaper editor, politician, and novelist. His family, who was devoutly religious, moved to Vilna, Lithuania in 1866 where the young Cahan received the usual Jewish preparatory education for the rabbinate. He, however, was attracted by secular knowledge and secretly studied the Russian language, ultimately entering the Teachers Institute of Vilna. Four years after his arrival in New York, he quickly mastered the English language and taught immigrants in an evening school. "The Rise of David Levinsky" was written in response to a request from the admired "McClure's" magazine for articles recounting the success of East European immigrants in the U.S. It aims to be a memoir written thirty years after the young David Levinsky arrived in the U.S. with four cents in his pocket. Since, he has accumulated more than two million dollars and is the owner of a leading cloak-and-suit factory, but is still not pleased. The novel is divided into fourteen books, each consisting of several chapters.
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