New York Times
"Pietrusza, the author of several books about baseball, does a terrific
job capturing Rothstein's colorful career and sheds new light on
Rothstein's role in fixing the World Series . . ."

Washington Post
"a morsel worth chewing over during the long, dark months between
seasons. . . . engaging . . .
"Too often, historians either avoid the juicy yarns or tell them badly.
Those with a nose for a good story, by contrast, generally haven't a
clue about historical context or why things change, so they tend to
string one tale after another and connect them with sentences like " The
times were changing and had been for quite a while." Pietrusza's
material puts real flesh on the story of how the new machinery of mass
entertainment—the yellow press, movies, radio, the recording
industry—created and brought together the culture of celebrity, politics,
big-time sports, stock market fortunes and organized crime in the
1920s. As the capital of all these worlds, New York became, more
than ever, the city of the "big money." Fitzgerald caught this merging of
putatively different worlds perfectly in his description of Jay Gatsby's
parties. Like Gatsby, but in love with money instead of a fantasy of
love, Rothstein made it big, and dreamed of more—and died violently,
barely mourned."

Kirkus Reviews
"Colorful biography of the crook who served as the model for Damon
Runyon's Nathan Detroit and Scott Fitzgerald's Meyer Wolfsheim.

"In the wide-open precincts of the Tenderloin and Times Square.
Arnold Rothstein (1882-1928), scion of a devout Jewish family,
carried the moniker "The Brain." He was also known as "The Great
Bankroll," and "The Man to See," pioneer of the floating crap game
and the guy who fixed (though it wasn't broke yet) the 1919 World
Series. His story makes a (slight change of pace for baseball writer
Pietrusza (
Ted Williams, not reviewed, etc.), who notes that the Black
Sox were not the only colorful characters in Rothstein's life and
premature death. There were the grafters and grifters, the touts and
toughs, the horse dopers, con artists, cops gone wrong, thieves,
prostitutes, goons, bootleggers, labor racketeers, gold diggers,
chiselers, and killers. Rothstein knew Fanny Brice and her man Nicky
Arnstein, Max Factor's bad brother, Herbert Bayard Swope, Lepke,
Gurrah, and Legs. He did business with mugs on the way from Lindy's
and Belmont to Sing Sing and the hot seat, citizens more dangerous
than Runyon ever depicted them. Rothstein was power broker to them
all, displaying a cool that once enabled him to sidestep an aimed
robbery by raking the gunman to a Turkish bath. He played a tricky
role in the Series fix, more fully dissected here than in standard histories
of the event. His adventures were rife with unexplained, untimely
deaths—his own among them Nobody ever took the rap for
Rothstein's murder, but Pietrusza undertakes to name the perp in prose
that recalls the verve of writer Gene Fowler, who used to hang out with
these guys. Stick around for the epilogue, which thumbnails the lives
and deaths of more than a hundred characters."

"True crime, evil doings, and monumental double-crossing by the Irish,
the Italians, the Jews, and the Machine in a savory account of the
legendary bad old days. (40 b&w photos, not seen) (Agent: Robert
Wilson/Wilson Media)"

Ingram Library Services
". . .brings to life the seedy underworld of Jazz Age New York City
and its unrivaled kingpin, Arnold Rothstein . . ."

USA Today Sports Weekly
"Aided by newly discovered sources, Pietrusza dissects this greatest of
sports crimes from Rothstein's vantage point."

Bill Madden, New York Daily News
"Recommended reading"

New York Law Journal
"Impressively researched . . . staccato narrative . . .  a breezy read."

Jewish Forward
"Splendid." full review
"the classic biography of Rothstein"

Raleigh News and Observer
"Lively . . . intriguing . . ."

Publishers Weekly
"Strong investigative journalism . . . sweeps readers into the seedy
world of Tammany Hall politics, violent mobsters, dirty cops and paid-
off judges. . . ."

Ingram Library Services
". . .brings to life the seedy underworld of Jazz Age New York City
and its unrivaled kingpin, Arnold Rothstein . . ."

USA Today Sports Weekly
"Aided by newly discovered sources, Pietrusza dissects this greatest of
sports crimes from Rothstein's vantage point.

Library Journal
"Pietrusza offers fresh perspectives, according his subject a more
proactive role in fixing the 1919 World Series than do most scholars,
such as Eliot Asinof in his classic novel,
Eight Men Out, or Leo
Katcher in his major biography,
The Big Bankroll. He also backs up
his claim that Rothstein founded the modern American drug trade and
offers a plausible culprit for Arnold's unsolved 1929 murder. This
fascinating account of both a brilliant criminal mastermind and New
York City's truly Roaring Twenties is recommended for all medium to
large public libraries."

Joe Franklin
"an entertaining page-turner."

New York Sun
"massively researched . . .disciplined and tenacious"

Allen Barra
"In the words of Michael Stuhlberg, the actor who played him so
superbly in
Boardwalk Empire, put it, playing Arnold Rothstein was
'like putting clothes on a ghost.' David Pietrusza not only puts clothes
on the grandfather of American organized crime but puts flesh on him
and blood in his veins as well. One of the handful of great books on the
history of the Mob."

Chicago Daily Southtown
"Fascinating" (full review)

"scrupulously sourced . . . The question of who killed Rothstein is
investigated thoroughly . . .  Rothstein's life . . . remains as intriguing as
it was when he occupied his corner table at Lindy's."

Jerusalem Post
"Pietrusza's Herculean effort to gather virtually everything available
about Rothstein has resulted in a book that will be of interest to a wide
audience. Buffs of the demi-mondes that Rothstein inhabited from the
turn of the century to his murder in 1928 will glean new nuggets about
their cherished subjects, be they Broadway, baseball, or boxing.
People interested in Gilded Era gambling houses, Tabloid Era
journalism, Jazz Age New York, Prohibition, and organized crime will
all find new information and entertaining anecdotes. Historians of more
sordid activities, such as the drug trade, will also find revelations."

The Virginia Quarterly Review
"For finally sorting out many of Rothstein's mythic triumphs and
fumbles, as well as his mysterious comeuppance, we are indebted to
David Pietrusza. Like an academic historian, he researched his subject
as thoroughly as possible and critically reviewed conflicting accounts
(often from highly impeachable sources). His book is solid and, unlike
most academic history, both colorful and rich in gallows humor."
"Mr. Pietrusza masterfully handles tangled facts, the myriad double-
crosses, and the swirling cast of characters surrounding the Black Sox
Scandal. He reveals Rothstein to have been at the very center of the
conspiracy and playing both ends against the middle so that he couldn't
possibly lose. This account challenges that with which most of us are
familiar—Ellot Asinof's in
Eight Men Out--but is so exhaustively
researched that it seems likely to remain the definitive version of events.
. . . a compelling and corrective biography . . . an impressive feat."

St. Mark's Book Shop
The model for The Great Gatsby's Meyer Wolfsheim and Nathan
Detroit in
Guys and Dolls, Arnold Rothstein was much more than a
fixer of baseball games. He was everything that made 1920s
Manhattan roar. Transporting readers onto Jazz Age Broadway with its
thugs, bookies, denizens of the racetracks, showgirls, political movers-
and-shakers, and sports stars, here is the biography of the devilishly
beloved gangland dandy who reigned supreme when the fast buck
ruled and violence stalked the streets of Gotham. David Pietrusza
unearths the canny way Rothstein fixed the 1919 World Series-playing
all sides off one another so that he alone could not lose-and unravels
the mystery of his November 1928 murder in a Times Square hotel
room. A masterful portrait of a Roaring '20s legend filled with
fascinating photographs, Pietrusza's award-nominated Rothstein
cements the place of "The Big Bankroll" as the godfather of organized
crime in America.

Society for American
Baseball Research (SABR)
Deadball Era Committee Newsletter
"breathtaking, exhilarating . . .  well-researched and brilliantly crafted.
Pietrusza . . . has navigated public records and privately cultivated
resources like few others could. The result is a work that paints a vivid
picture of a little understood man and a gone-but-not-forgotten time."

Posted on
Let me recommend "Rothstein," by David Pietrusza.
It's one of the most unusual biographies I've ever read, because it's
written almost like a novel the way he unfolds the story of New York
gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein. It's refreshing to read, especially for
so much detail. The depth of his research is the most impressive feature
of his book, because he goes back, in great detail, into the history of
Tammany's reign in New York and the way it set up Rothstein's reign
in the city—and how Rothstein's influence helped keep Tammany in
control through the early 20th century.
Usually, a book like that is written by an academic, for academia. This
one's not. It's an intriguing way to approach a biography, but you've
got to have the substance behind it to make it work. Not to mention,
the story has to be right. But as a reporter/writer/ researcher, this book
impressed me professionally—not only in the way he approached it,
but the way he executed it.

Rob Taub
"Excellent book and fascinating character study of Arnold Rothstein."

Larry Grossman, KENO,
Las Legas, NV
"really a fascinating read . . . This is a great book."

Media Monitors Network

Harvey Frommer
"There is an entire universe worth reading about in 'Rothstein.'  
Whether you are a student of history, politics, the national pastime or
just one who enjoys a terrific read - get your hands on a copy of  
Pietrusza's gem."
"intensively-researched . . Nearly everyone of any notoriety of the era
appears in this book, including Damon Runyon (one of his closest
friends) Meyer Lansky, Funny Girl, George M. Cohan, Legs Diamond,
and Fats Waller just to name a few. The author makes a convincing
case that the secretive Rothstein was not just involved in, but was the
force behind the fixing of the 1919 World Series. He has less evidence,
but good arguments, to show that Rothstein founded the first
international drug-smuggling cartel and developed the business model
on which the illicit drug industry operates today. Given how enormously
publicity-shy Rothstein was, Pietrusza admirably captures this elusive
criminal genius, the times in which he lived, and the way in which he
died—gunned down in a seedy hotel room for a trifling gambling debt."

Atlanta Jewish Times
"Pietrusza's Herculean efforts to gather virtually everything available
about Rothstein has resulted in a book that will be of interest to a wide

Richard F. Hamm
Professor of History and Public Policy and
Chair, History Department at the
University at Albany.
" . . . a rarity among true crime books (a genre that is characterized by
black covers with titles in red ink) in that it is deeply written,
informative of the role of crime in society, and well written."

Florida Entertainment Law Review

Society for American
Baseball Research (SABR)
Business of Baseball Newsletter
"Excellent . . . an outstanding read"

Rolling Good Times Online
"Packed with photos, a detailed index, and a massive section for
researchers to following including resources, bibliography and a follow
up to many of the key persons in Rothstein's life, [
Rothstein's] a fine
piece of research for those who have an interest in the early days of
organized crime and how gamblers operated 80 years ago."

Pat Williams, Author and Vice President, Orlando
"a terrific book"
"Meticulously researched and well-written account of Arnold
Rothstein's life includes a great overview of [Jack] Zelig and the
[Herman] Rosenthal murder."

"Outside the Lines"SABR Business of Baseball
Committee Newsletter

SABR Bibliographical Committee Newsletter
"Monumental . . . a full-scale revision of Eliot Asinof's version of the
scandal as presented in his
Eight Men Out."

The Guardian
(Wright State University)
"a fantastic historical journey that reads quickly and feels like a work of
fiction because of the drama associated with the people and activities
surrounding Rothstein."
"intensively researched .. . . Pietrusza admirably captures this elusive
criminal genius, the times in which he lived, and the way in which he
died . . ."

The Daily Beast

New York Times best-selling author Robert Spencer:
"Superb. Novelistic, absorbing, entertaining on every page.”

Tucson Citizen
"David Pietrusza does what police investigators have been unable to do
for more than 75 years—he solves the crime and names the perp. We
won't reveal the name of the shooter.
"This is a sobering story about horse dopers, dopers, chiselers,
prostitutes, goons and grifters. Strong investigative journalism shows in
elaborate detail how Rothstein—with a little help from his friends—
fixed the series. By playing all sides off one another, Rothstein made
certain that regardless of the final score, he would be the ultimate
winner. Rothstein was nothing less than the father of modern crime and
Pietrusza's book places him squarely in the glare of a literary lineup for
all to see."

Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland
"Rothstein is terrific, the real, inside story of our most fabled gangster.  
A compelling portrait of the man and his time."

James Lileks
"I highly recommend it"

Gene Carney, author of
Burying the Black Sox: How Baseball's Cover-Up of the
1919 World Series Fix Almost Succeeded
"must read."

Rob Taub, Live Panelist
"Rothstein is superb. David Pietrusza gives us the real world of Damon
Guys & Dolls in page-turner that reads like a novel!"

Atlantic City Weekly

Sportswriter Denis Gorman

Dan Reinhard, WKNY, Kingston, NY
"Absolutely wonderful . . . just intriguing . . . great reading and great

From AudioFile
Dazzling! ROTHSTEIN is nonstop fiery journalism, finely researched
and colorfully written, read with truly impressive panache by the
inimitable Grover Gardner. Gardner tears into the material with vigor
and intelligence, a knowing insider's edge, and a smirk in each syllable.
His style here is reminiscent of period radio announcers, conjuring vivid
images of the streets and denizens of old New York in every breath.
Be prepared for over fourteen hours of scintillating history that reveals
the rampant corruption and indelible characters of the times. Arnold
Rothstein grew from a rebellious Jewish boy of the tenements to one of
the most influential and conniving criminal minds in history. His intricate
rigging of the 1919 World Series was a gem, but Rothstein, clearly an
obsessive-compulsive gambling addict, engineered some of the biggest
scams, criminal networks, and graft systems ever known in America.
Like many of his ilk, his personal life was a tragedy, and Rothstein
surely shared the wealth. A must listen, must own audiobook. D.J.B.
Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award
AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine—Copyright AudioFile, Portland,
This text refers to the Audio CD edition.


"Fans of the HBO series Boardwalk Empire will enjoy Rothsteim . . .  
I've thoroughly enjoyed getting better acquainted with Mr. Arnold
Rothstein through listening to the audiobook of David Pietrusza’s
biography . . ."
—Elena Hynes—
This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Praise for . . .