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

"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

"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)"

Steve Wulf, ESPN

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

Il Post (Italy)
"The most consistent and detailed reconstruction of the 1919
baseball scandal."

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,
Men Out,
or Leo Katcher in his major biography, The Big
. 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

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."

Bob Batchelor, Author of The Bourbon King: The Life
and Crimes of George Remus, Prohibition's Evil Genius
Rothstein is a perfect book, deeply-researched and beautifully
written, bringing one of the most significant figures of the
early twentieth century fully to life...and what an amazing life
it was!"
"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

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
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

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 audience."

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 Magic
"a terrific book"

John Rothmann, KGO-AM (San Francisco)
"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 Runyon's
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 history."

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, Maine—
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.