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Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series
 
 

Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series [Kindle Edition]

David Pietrusza
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

History remembers Arnold Rothstein as the man who fixed the 1919 World Series, an underworld genius. The real-life model for The Great Gatsby's Meyer Wolfsheim and Nathan Detroit from Guys and Dolls, Rothstein was much more—and less—than a fixer of baseball games. He was everything that made 1920s Manhattan roar. Featuring Jazz Age Broadway with its thugs, speakeasies, showgirls, political movers and shakers, and stars of the Golden Age of Sports, this is a biography of the man who dominated an age. Arnold Rothstein was a loan shark, pool shark, bookmaker, thief, fence of stolen property, political fixer, Wall Street swindler, labor racketeer, rumrunner, and mastermind of the modern drug trade. Among his monikers were "The Big Bankroll," "The Brain," and "The Man Uptown." This vivid account of Rothstein's life is also the story of con artists, crooked cops, politicians, gang lords, newsmen, speakeasy owners, gamblers and the like. Finally unraveling the mystery of Rothstein's November 1928 murder in a Times Square hotel room, David Pietrusza has cemented The Big Bankroll's place among the most influential and fascinating legendary American criminals. 16 pages of black-and-white photographs are featured.

From the Author

History remembers Arnold Rothstein as the man who fixed the 1919 World Series, the underworld genius, who as F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, played "with the faith of fifty million people—with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe." A.R. was so much more—and less. Loan Shark. Pool Shark. Gambler. Bookmaker. Operator of Illegal Gambling Houses. Thief. Fence of Stolen Property. Perjurer and Suborner of Perjury. Political Fixer. Wall Street Swindler. Real Estate Speculator. Labor Racketeer. Rumrunner. Mastermind of the Modern Drug Trade.

"The Big Bankroll" made 1920’s Manhattan roar. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had to invent his own "Napoleon of Crime," Professor Moriarty, "the organizer of every deviltry, the controlling brain of the underworld." Arnold Rothstein invented himself, and made fiction pale in the bargain. Rothstein reveals the truth of Rothstein’s involvement in the Black Sox scandal. Rothstein unravels the mystery of the "The Big Bankroll’s November 1928 in a Times Square hotel room—who did it, who covered it up, and why.
Meet Arnold Rothstein and meet the legends of decades ago—con artists Nicky Arnstein and Wilson Mizner; legal mastermind Bill "The Great Mouthpiece" Fallon; crooked cops Big Bill Devery and Charles Becker; baseball’s John "Mugsy" McGraw and the Black Sox; boxers Abe "The Little Champ" Attell, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, and Benny Leonard; politicians Jimmy Walker, "Big Tim" Sullivan, and Fiorello LaGuardia; ganglords Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Legs Diamond, Lepke Buchalter, and Little Augie Orgen; newsmen Damon Runyon and Herbert Bayard Swope; show business’s Fanny Brice, George M. Cohan, Irving Berlin, Billy Rose, and Fats Waller; speakeasy owners Larry Fay and Texas Guinan; gambler "Nick the Greek" Dandalos.

Rothstein is the epic story of Manhattan in the Roaring Twenties as its never been told before.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2292 KB
  • Print Length: 530 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0465029388
  • Publisher: Basic Books (13 Sep 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I57NZM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #84,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Called one "of the best historians in the United States," "one of the great political historians of all time," and "the undisputed champion of chronicling American Presidential campaigns." David Pietrusza has produced a number of critically-acclaimed works concerning 20th century American history. Critics have compared his work to that of H. L. Mencken, Theodore H. White, Edmund Morris, and Doris Kearnes Goodwin.

His "1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America," a study of the dramatic 1948 presidential campaign, is a selection of the History Book Club, the Book-of-the-Month Club, and the Literary Guild.

ForeWord Magazine designated his book "1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies" as among the best political biographies. Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Caro has termed "1960" "terrific."

Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns.

Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled "Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series" was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an AUDIOFILE Earphones Award.

Pietrusza has edited three volumes on the career and works of Calvin Coolidge: "Silent Cal's Almanack: The Homespun Wit & Wisdom of Vermont's Calvin Coolidge," "Calvin Coolidge: A Documentary Biography," and "Coolidge on the Founders: Calvin Coolidge on the American Revolution & the Founding Fathers." Says Amity Shlaes: "an authority on the 1920s and [Calvin] Coolidge . . . David Pietrusza has brought Coolidge back to life with his volumes about the president . . ."

Pietrusza's "Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis," received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a Finalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.

Pietrusza collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called "Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures."

His books have been utilized as texts by such colleges as George Washington University, the City University of New York, the University at Buffalo, Baylor University, Bellevue College, the University of Illinois, the University of San Francisco, and Portland State College. "1920" has been part of the syllabus for the course "Congress, The Presidency & 21st Century Media" offered by C-SPAN, The Cable Center and the University of Denver. His talk on "Silent Cal's Almanack" is included in the curriculum for the C-SPAN Classroom initiative.

Pietrusza served as president (1993-97) of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), and as editor-in-chief of the publishing company Total Sports.

He has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC, C-SPAN Book TV (including "In Depth"), C-SPAN American History TV, ESPN, the Fox News Channel, the History Channel ("The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents"), EBRU-TV, GBTV, the Voice of America, "Secrets of new York," and the Fox Sports Channel. He has produced and written the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes." He has served as a regular panelist for FoxNews.com Live.

An internationally recognized expert on American presidential elections, he has been interviewed by Le Figaro, Le Monde, Radio-France, Radio-France International, Greece's To Vima, and Denmark's Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten.

Pietrusza holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University at Albany and has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York. He has served as public information officer for both the NYS Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform and the NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.

Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany.

Learn more at www.davidpietrusza.com

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE PROFESSOR OF CRIME 19 Dec 2010
By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Arnold Rothstein used his brain to elevate the crude and bludgeoning style of the typical participant of organised crime into more of a slick corporate business with him, naturally at the top. Whereas other hoodlums looked the part and acted the part in their brash, crude and brutal activities, Rothstein skilfully and with great finesse and cunning, outshone them all in in the art of being a covert criminal genius.

This well researched and written book carefully examines each of his criminal activities which included casino's and speakeasies in the Tenderloin District of Manhattan, bootlegging during Prohibition, the fixing, for betting coups of horse races, even baseball matches and almost every other dishonest activity. It was widely thought, but never proven that he was the mastermind behind one of the greatest sporting scandals ever, the 'throwing' of matches by members of the Chicago White Sox in the World Series thus enabling Rothstein to make a significant sum betting against Chicago; an incident known as the "Black Sox Scandal."

It was, alas his greed and meanness that finally brought about his demise; he refused to pay-up a large card gambling debt, claiming the game was fixed but a few days later, and in probable retribution was mortally wounded - his death being linked to his refusal to settle his gambling debts.

Recommended reading for followers of crime and the under-belly of New York in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Arnold Rothstein was the first of the modern Mob Godfathers- but he was refreshingly different from the thugs and sneaks who hold similar positions in the modern world. He used his brain to create complex and intelligent money making scheme's and avoided violence whenever possible. He was one of the first to recognise the power that the plug ugly street gangs actually had and the amount of money that translated into. Among his many nick-names was 'The Brain'. A label he certainly deserved.

So why is he relatively unknown compared to the Capones and Lansky's of the underworld? I don't know but this book goes some way towards righting this injustice.

This is the first attempt to understand Rothstein since John Koblers excellent 'The Big Bankroll' of the 1950s, which as been accepted as the definitive guide to Rothstein for over half a century. Although Pietrusza had a bigger 'try following that' problem than most he has managed to share the gold medal podium with Kobler by enlarging the information already in print and actually uncovering some revelations of his very own! Considering the subject of the book died in 1928 that is something of a miracle and the author deserves recognition for his skills as a researcher and a writer.

Going into more detail, especially on the 1919 'Blacksox' baseball scandal and Rothsteins 'unsolved' murder, Pietrusza has sharply observed the lesser known area's of his subjects life and used excellent research to shine a light on them.

His writing style is to the point and never stuffy. Which can sometimes make the reader unaware of the sheer volume of facts they are digesting whilst reading material that moves as fast as a thriller.

Excellent. Early Mob Essential.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a great story. 18 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I brought it with the idea of a holiday read, but the book was not for saving I read it and loved it. A great story and for a paper back it hold's good with 484 pages good value for money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rothstein - 4* 25 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback
History may remember Arnold Rothstein as the man who fixed the 1919 World Series; however this book does an excellent job of explaining how Rothstein's influence and power was far more widespread than a single World Series fix. From humble beginnings hustling in local pool halls, Rothstein's ambition and drive leads him to becoming one of the leading crime figures of the 20th Century.

The author, David Pietrusza, has painstakingly researched every aspect of criminal life in the 'Roaring 20s' and we are introduced not only to Rothstein, but a host of other characters, whether they be politicians, criminals, union leaders or even somebody who is simply financially indebted to Rothstein. These characters add further credence to truth of how powerful Rothstein was, through his various enterprises, bootlegging, casino owner and loan shark. The reader is also introduced to the personal turmoil Rothstein faced throughout his life, with his wife and family.

In my opinion the book is at its best once prohibition has been put into force, before this, Rothstein is mainly a go between for crooked politicians and the underbelly of New York City. Rothstein's true genius is exposed when he becomes one of the first to realise that securing routes and distribution for bootlegging was one of the most profitable businesses to have. From here we learn the extravagant lengths taken to ensure that New York and surrounding cities alike, were never to far from their next liquor shipment, the money earned, the characters involved and the consequences, all make for a very interesting read.

The only reason I fell short of rating this book 5*, is that at times the book becomes to preoccupied with facts of bit part characters and this draws away from Rothstein's more interesting pursuits.
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I respect faith, but doubt is what gets you an education. &quote;
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