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Book review: 'Dance with the Bear' documents Utah businessman's life

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, May 18 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

DANCE WITH THE BEAR: The Joe Rosenblatt Story,” by Norman Rosenblatt, University of Utah Press, $44.95, 288 pages (nf)

Written by his oldest son, Norman Rosenblatt, “Dance with the Bear: The Joe Rosenblatt Story,” is the biography of a businessman who not only made an impact on Utah, but in the world of mining internationally.

The book’s title acknowledges the machine that was the core product of the Rosenblatt business, Eastern Iron and Metal Company — the EIMCO Rocker Shovel.

“By the time he retired, 75 percent of underground hard-rock mines in the world were using the EIMCO Rocker Shovel,” Norman Rosenblatt writes in the book’s introduction. “It was said that the best operators could make the shovel sing — but that beginners felt they were dancing with a bear. Dancing with a bear is a good metaphor for Joe Rosenblatt’s life.”

In an even-handed way, Norman Rosenblatt shares his father’s life in a well-researched and documented biography.

The seven-chapter work begins with the story of Joe Rosenblatt’s father and mother, Nathan and Evelyn Rosenblatt — Russian Jewish immigrants who came to Utah in 1890 and started a junk metal business called “Nathan’s Utah Junk.”

Using interviews, journals and family letters, along with information from library and newspaper archives, the author paints a well-rounded portrait of a man who was involved in successful business, civic and government endeavors, who also cared deeply about his religion, family and fellow beings.

Joe claimed many religious, government and civic leaders as friends. Among them were presidents and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including LDS Church presidents from David O. McKay through Gordon B. Hinckley.

The author cites a tribute from President Hinckley on Joe Rosenblatt’s death in 1999, “… On occasion we have met with him, counseled with him, and been blessed by his remarkable wisdom. … It is not likely that we shall see another of his kind in a long while.”

A section of black and white photos, a bibliography, notes and an index are included. Three appendices list “Joe Rosenblatt’s Service on Boards, Commissions, and Committees,” “The Winners of the Rosenblatt Prize for Excellence,” and a timeline of important events in Rosenblatt’s life.

The biography documents an important piece of Utah history.

Norman Rosenblatt and his wife live in San Francisco, where he is currently working as a composer of jazz music.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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