Daily Bookmark: “Tough Luck” is a Brooklyn-bred sports saga with a mafioso twist

When writer R.D. Rosen became curious about his childhood neighbor Sid Luckman, a Hall of Fame Quarterback for the Chicago Bears, he was hoping to uncover an interesting sports story, but got more than he bargained for; it turns out Luckman’s father served a stint in Sing Sing for a second-degree murder conviction beginning in 1936, and never had the opportunity to watch his sports star son play in college or the NFL. 

In “Tough Luck,” on sale now from Grove Atlantic, Rosen chronicles the Brooklyn family that spawned one of the greatest Jewish athletes of all time, as well as a homicidal Brooklyn mobster, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Though in his later life Sid Luckman was able to use his connections to suppress his father’s criminal history in the press, Rosen’s childhood memory and news hound instincts were able to uncover one of the most Shakespearean nonfiction father-and-son stories ever told. 

Richard Dean Rosen grew up in Highland Park, Illinois, and studied writing at Brown and Harvard. He’s been a book editor, a writing teacher, a news producer and a chef. He’s the author of “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 lives in New York City. 

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