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Arnold Rothstein - Wikipedia
See more options Embed Code. Facebook Twitter. I do love nonfiction book subtitles; this one crams in every possible detail and then uses all caps and a mix of serif and sans serif fonts to establish some sense of prioritization. Ah well. When I was growing up, my parents subscribed to a wonderful limited-edition book series, the Curtis International Portraits of Greatness.
Each of the fourteen books covered a notable historical figure, including Elizabeth I, Beethoven, and Leonardo da Vinci. They were terrific books now, sadly, out of print but apparently available on ebay and through Amazon, and well worth seeking out and instilled a lifelong love of history and biography in my brother and me. A whole lot. An amazing lot.
The myriad—no doubt meticulously researched—incidents of lesser and greater crimes and criminals that surround Rothstein never accrue to a big picture. Because this is never a book about Rothstein; in fact, after more than four hundred pages of text and notes, Arnold Rothstein emerges as more of a cypher than ever, the contours of his character blurred by the morass of background information. Which is very unfortunate, because Pietrusza is generally a good writer, a detailed researcher, and obviously passionate about his topic.
But these strengths do not make in this case for a good biography, and I take away only the merest of tidbits:.
- Arnold Rothstein.
- Rothstein: The Life, Times, And Murder Of The Criminal Genius Who Fixed The World Series!;
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I got knocked up, I had abortions, I broke up homes, I gave fellers the clap. Interestingly, the notes for the above exchange, rather than referencing a newspaper archive, cite three websites, none of which I could access. As the book was originally published in , that is not in itself surprising.
But what is surprising is that two of the links are for Blockbuster, which is just plain odd, as if the citation were for a movie. I believe that to be a byproduct of having painted so huge a canvas. Stuff just trails off, undetailed and unexamined.
ROTHSTEIN: The Life, Times and Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series
The solution? Include less. The inclusion of extraneous characters does not build to a better understanding of Arnold Rothstein or his times; rather, it distracts and thus detracts.
Another way in which the author piles on the details is in his delineation of the major crimes with which Arnold was involved. Pietrusza then slowly and in excruciating detail goes through the fix, the players, and the circumstances, debunking Eight Men Out movie and book in the process. But I must confess, as a person with limited knowledge of or indeed, really, interest in the World Series, I found my attention wandering. In all fairness, this could be my unfamiliarity with the topic.
But I found the case ultimately uncompelling—and, worse, uninteresting. Not to knock further holes in the book or to denigrate the author, I do feel compelled to note a pervasive inconsistency of tone and a lack of editorial quality control.
Regarding the tone, the author cannot make up his mind whether to be a wisecracking Damon Runyan—style narrator or a pedantic researcher. Snappy writing like this makes for a stark contrast with the long quotes ripped from contemporary newspaper accounts and trial testimony.