The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius
who Fixed the 1919 World Series
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—The New York Times
Edgar Award Finalist
Matt Silverman and
|Audio Version a Winner |
of the Golden
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.
"Rothstein paints a fascinating, engrossing portrait of a modern-day Professor Moriarity, set in a
Roaring Twenties universe of crime and corruption, violence and greed. Only Arnold Rothstein dared to
fix a World Series, or his own trial for shooting two policemen. Only David Pietrusza could have so
vividly recreated his life, his death, and his era."
former United States Attorney General and Governor of Pennsylvania
"Arnold Rothstein was the Thomas Edison of modern crime, inventing much of it and streamlining the
rest. Investment houses, credit-card issuers, and lottery hawkers have been enriched by his legacy.
David Pietrusza's monumental biography of this evil genius is astonishingly detailed and grippingly
narrated; there's a revelation in every chapter.
Only Rothstein could have spun so tangled a web; only Pietrusza, seventy-five years after his subject's
death, could have set it straight."
—John Thorn, sports historian and editor of Total Baseball
"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."
"David Pietrusza's research opens the wonderous underworld that lurked below the Roaring 20s.
Rothstein is witty, amusing, original, and ultimately very informative."
—Donn Rogosin, author of Invisible Men: Life in Baseball's Negro Leagues
"David Pietrusza's Rothstein: The Life, Times, and Murder of the Criminal Genius who Fixed the 1919
World Series is brilliant—a vivid, superbly researched portrait of the boss who ruled Broadway in its
author of Tommy's Honor and Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything
—Rose Keefe, author of
Guns and Roses:
The Untold Story of Dean O'Banion and The Man Who Got Away: The Bugs Moran Story
"It doesn't matter how much you know or have researched the 1919 Black Sox Scandal, you must read
Rothstein. Pietrusza pulls it all together and —or the first time—the pieces of the ongoing mystery saga
fall into place. "
—Susan Dellinger, Ph.D., author of Red Legs and Black Sox
(Emmis Books, 2006)
It's All Here—in Rothstein:
- The amazing, complex story of how gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein conspired to fix the
1919 World Series —and kept out of jail when the whole scheme blew sky high.
- Arnold Rothstein's mysterious November 1928 murder. Finally revealed: Who did it. Why.
And why so many powerful people found the truth inconvenient.
- How Rothstein's violent death eventually helped bring down Tammany Hall, the nation's
biggest political machine—and helped make Fiorello LaGuardia mayor and Franklin
- Millions in stolen bonds. The accused: dapper conman Nicky Arnstein. His wife:
Broadway star Fanny Brice. The shadowy figure behind the crime: Arnstein's idol, Arnold
- How on July 4, 1921 Arnold Rothstein won $850,000 on a single horse race—and had it
figured how he would make money even if his horse lost.
- How Arnold Rothstein and his henchman Abe Attell boldly worked to fix the first Jack
Dempsey-Gene Tunney heavyweight title fight.
- Wall Street swindles and scams in the Roaring Twenties. The bankroll behind the crooked
brokerage houses: Arnold Rothstein.
- Arnold Rothstein's brilliant, flamboyant lawyer: Bill "The Great Mouthpiece" Fallon. How
Fallon saved himself from jury-tampering charges by putting media czar William Randolph
Hearst and his mistress actress Marion Davies on trial.
- How Arnold Rothstein and Captain Alfred Loewenstein, the world's third-richest person,
worked to create the modern international drug trade.
- Arnold Rothstein: the father of organized crime, mentor to gangland immortals Meyer
Lansky, Lucky Luciano, Legs Diamond, Lepke Buchalter.
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, Herbert Bayard Swope
and William Randolph Hearst; show business's Fanny Brice, George M.
Cohan, Irving Berlin, Billy Rose, Marion Davies, 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.
If you've been transfixed by Boardwalk Empire's Arnold Rothstein, now you
can learn . . . the even more amazing rest of the story.
|Rothstein has won the Golden Headphone Award and been rated as One of Booklist's
Top Ten, chosen from titles reviewed in Booklist from June 2003 through May 15,
2004, these outstanding biographies and memoirs are about individuals, both famous
and infamous, who through their stories reveal much about the culture and society of
their respective eras. have a lasting impact.