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

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by David Pietrusza
     
 

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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… See more details below

Overview


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.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465029389
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Edition description:
Second Edition
Pages:
528
Sales rank:
169,039
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author


David Pietrusza has edited over three dozen books. His Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis captured the 1998 CASEY Award. He was an editor of Total Baseball, the Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. Pietrusza’s most recent book, Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures, was written with Ted Williams. He lives in upstate New York.

Read an Excerpt


He did much of his fixing at Lindy’s Restaurant, in Times Square, spending so much time there many thought he owned it. Half of Broadway treated Lindy’s as their clubhouse. Actors in one corner; songwriters and song pluggers in another; gamblers in yet another. Damon Runyon gravitated to Lindy’s newspapermen’s section and wrote about those in the underworld section. In Guys and Dolls, Lindy’s became “Mindy’s” and Arnold Rothstein became “Nathan Detroit.” Elsewhere, Runyon turned A. R. into “Armand Rosenthal, The Brain.”

You could find A. R. in Lindy’s almost any night, making deals, lending money at rates as high as 48 percent.

Arnold Rothstein compartmentalized his whole life into various segments, some legal, most illegal—a confusing, but profitable, mix of legitimacy and corruption. Most knew him as a gambler. He was much more. His “Big Bankroll” nickname revealed far more than one might surmise. From his earliest days, he carried huge amounts on his conservatively tailored person— eventually up to $100,000.

A big bankroll conferred immense power upon the bearer. Have a scheme? See Rothstein. In a jam? Go to Rothstein. You’d get the money on the spot, no paperwork, no wait. And so, A. R. fenced millions of dollars in stolen government bonds, backed New York’s biggest bootleggers, imported tons of illegal heroin and morphine, financed shady Wall Street bucket shops, bought and sold cops and politicians.

Rothstein wasn’t merely rich, he was smart. That was how he became rich. A. R. was “The Great Brain,” smarter and savvier than those around him—no matter what crowd he was in—the gamblers, the reporters, the politicians, the hoodlums, the showpeople, the “legitimate” businessman. They knew it, he knew it; he prided himself on his overwhelming intelligence, his ability to calmly, coldly manipulate any situation.

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