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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Fascinated With Rothstein? New Book Offers Look at His Hustles, Fixes, Death

6 January 2005

David Pietrusza's Rothstein (The Life, Times and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed The 1919 World Series) (484 pages, paperbound, $16), may well be the best book on the man since LeoKatcher's The Big Bankroll (published in 1958). The author, former president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a historian and expert on the 1920s.

The book is both history and whodunit in nature, with a massive cast of characters, famous and infamous--gamblers, ballplayers, the judiciary, corruption, in part, an unsolved mystery.

Who shot Rothstein in 1928? Why was the killer never caught? Who were the suspects, what was the motive and what led up to the event? How could Rothstein get away with shooting three New York City policemen?

Rothstein, the ultimate hustler, pulled off one of the most blatant and memorable betting coups in the history of thoroughbred racing, when in one race, his horse Sidereal earned him $850,000 at Aqueduct.

Rothstein met Nick the Greek, Titanic Thompson and a slew of characters right out of Damon Runyon's Guys and Dolls. He was a major player during the Jazz Age--a true "gangland dandy."

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, it'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.

Another new arrival at Gambler's Book Shop is Hiding the Elephant by Jim Steinmeyer (362 pages, paperbound, $14). Subtitled How Magicians Invented the Impossible and Learned to Disappear, this work chronicles a half-century of illusionary innovation, backstage chicanery within the world of magicians.

This book traces the evolution of stage magic, from Theo Bamberg, Dion Boucicault and George Cooke in the 19th Century to Ira Davenport, Joseph DeKolta, David Devant, Henry Dircks, Horace Goldin, Will Golsteon and Alexander Herrmann and Harry Houdini in the 20th Century. Also: Harry Kellar, Guy Jarrett, John Maskelyne, Nevil Maskelyne, Jasper Maskelyne, Charles Morritt, John Pepper, Robert-Houdin, Howard Thurston, Thomas Tobin and Paul Valadon among others.

This is the perfect book for one who wants a history of magic and illusions, how secrets were passed on, moved perfected and how illusion today attracts millions to the great stage performers like Lance Burton and David Copperfield.
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com