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Publisher's Summary

The model for The Great Gatsby's Meyer Wolfsheim and Nathan Detroit from Guys and Dolls, Arnold Rothstein was an underworld genius, racketeer, rumrunner, and mastermind who, as F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, played "with the faith of 15 million people with the single-mindedness of a burglar blowing a safe." Jazz Age Broadway, with its thugs, speakeasies, showgirls, political movers and shakers, and sports heroes comes to life in this vibrant biography of the man who reigned supreme when the fast buck ruled and violence stalked the streets of Gotham.
©2003 David Pietrusza; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Writing a biography of the notoriously secretive Arnold Rothstein, a rum-and-drug-running, bookmaking loan shark who became one of the richest men in the world, is a gamble that, for the most part, pays off for Pietrusza." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.9 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Michael
  • Buffalo Grove, IL, USA
  • 07-15-04

Time well spent

Comprehensive period account for those interested in early 20th century American history. Narration was more than adequate but for some mispronunciation of Yiddish names, terms and idioms. The narrative timeline was sometimes disjointed (major disadvantage in audiobook). Held my interest throughout.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Phil O.
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 10-08-12

Fans of the time and place, rejoice

Arnold Rothstein was a pioneer of 20th century organized crime. He took the street-level and gambling-house tricks to new heights of craft and organization. He brought a spiritedness and an element of sly humor to his business. His proteges include Meyer Lansky, Benjamin Siegel, and Lucky Luciano, launching the multi-ethnic criminal organization that loomed so large later in the century. Arnold was a white glove kind of guy who almost never got his own fingernails dirty; he was great at using straw men and having numerous fall guys between him and trouble. He brought an extreme discretion and skills of quiet manipulation of every player in sight, along with fastidious risk management, that would become a standard way of life in modern America's political economy. He should stand as an icon for every slick well-dressed manicured slimeball out there. As such, he doesn't get the recognition he deserves. Grover Gardner's narration has just the right sophisticated twang for this. The story drags a bit at a few points, but it moves plenty well, and was well worth my time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tom
  • Upper Tantallon, NS, Canada
  • 12-26-14

Wonderful book, excellent narrator.

I can't say enough about Grover. By far my favorite narrator, hands down. The book itself was excellent as well, with lots of facts, but great story as well. The chapters on the 1919 scandal were riveting, and the human story was well told. 5 stars from me.