One of The Wall Street Journal's Best Non fiction Books of 2011.
From modest beginnings as a tea shop, the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company became the largest retailer in the world. It was a juggernaut, with nearly sixteen thousand stores. But its explosive growth made it a mortal threat to mom-and-pop grocery stores across the nation. Main Street fought back tooth and nail, leading the Hoover, Roosevelt, and Truman administrations to investigate the Great A&P. In a remarkable court case, the government pressed criminal charges against the company for selling food too cheaply-and won.
In The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, the acclaimed historian Marc Levinson tells the story of a struggle between small business and big business that tore America apart. George and John Hartford took over their father's business and reshaped it again and again, turning it into a vertically integrated behemoth that paved the way for every big-box retailer to come. George demanded a rock-solid balance sheet; John was the marketer-entrepreneur who led A&P through seven decades of rapid changes. Together, they set the stage for the modern consumer economy by turning an archaic retail industry into a highly efficient system for distributing food at low cost.
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Marc Levinson began as a journalist, reporting on business for Time magazine and the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) and serving as editorial director of the daily Journal of Commerce in New York. After several years writing about business and economics for Newsweek, he became finance and economics editor of The Economist in London. In 1999 Marc joined the predecessor to JP Morgan Chase, where he created a unique industry economics function that married economic research with stock and bond analysis and developed a line of environmental research products for institutional investor clients. He has had stints advising Congress on transportation and industry issues and serving as senior fellow for international business at the Council on Foreign Relations, and has consulted for a number of businesses and public agencies.
Marc’s career has been eclectic, but with a common thread: his professional life has centered on making complex economic issues understandable to the general public. Much of his work has been international in focus, dealing with international trade and globalization, international finance and financial regulation, and energy and environmental issues that cross international borders.
He has written six books that merge my interests in economics and business strategy with historical research. He has also written many articles for leading publications, such as Harvard Business Review and Foreign Affairs, and contributed historical pieces to Echoes, the former economic history blog at Bloomberg.com. He frequently reviews books for The Wall Street Journal and other publications.
Marc earned a bachelor’s degree from Antioch College, a master’s degrees from Georgia State University and the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, and a doctorate from the City University of New York.