R. D. Rosen

Cindy Seip

R.D. Rosen has written several nonfiction books, including A Buffalo in the House: The True Story of a Man, an Animal, and the American West and Such Good Girls: The Journey of the Holocaust’s Hidden Child Survivors. He also won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for his first of five mystery novels and has written about sports for many national publications. In Tough Luck: Sid Luckman, Murder, Inc., and the Rise of the Modern NFL (Atlantic Monthly Press), Rosen tells the hidden story of legendary Chicago Bears quarterback Sid Luckman and his criminal father set in Depression-era New York. As 18-year-old Sid makes headlines in New York City for his high school football exploits, his father, Meyer, was making headlines for the gangland murder of his own brother-in-law. Sid becomes a star at Columbia and a Hall of Fame NFL quarterback in Chicago while Meyer serves 20-years-to-life in Sing Sing Prison —all of it studiously ignored by the press and ultimately overlooked for eight decades. Tough Luck traces two simultaneous historical developments through a single immigrant family: the rise of the National Football League, and the demise―triggered by Meyer Luckman’s crime and initial coverup―of the Brooklyn labor rackets and Louis Lepke’s infamous organization Murder, Inc. Steve Wulf, of ESPN, noted how “[a]s the quarterback of the Chicago Bears in the ‘40s, Sid Luckman revolutionized the game […], inspired an entire generation of Jewish-Americans and endeared himself to the biggest names in sports and show business. But as R. D. Rosen reveals in this thoughtful, moving biography, the pressure that […] Luckman faced from would-be tacklers was nothing compared to his need to outrun the shadow of his father’s criminal past.”