Bombed In His Bed –
The Confessions of Jewish Gangster Myer Rush
Author: Bruce Farrell Rosen
Alma Rose Publishing
The first thing that you need to know about this book is that Bruce Farrell Rosen is Myer Rush’s nephew. The second thing that you need to know is that this is an outstanding book, in terms of readability, research, tone, and interest. Myer Rush is not what one would consider a typical gangster. He doesn’t drink, he doesn’t do drugs, and he cares about family. He allowed his nephew, his sister’s son, to interview him late in life, when he had refused interview requests from many journalists. He did not like how he was depicted in the press, yet he wanted his story told. So … how did he end up on the path that he took?
Myer Rush was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, during the great depression. His father was a tailor, a Jewish immigrant from Europe. He had a temper, and was not an easy man to be around. Myer started working at the age of five, selling newspapers and magazines on the street corner. To keep his corner, he had to become tough with much bigger kids that wanted the same corner. This mindset would stay with Myer throughout his life. He shared his money willingly with his mother, to help feed the family. He shared it a little less willingly with his brothers, but share he did.
Throughout his life Myer Rush would make very good money from such trades as being a cat burglar in major hotels (only with occupants in the room and sleeping), running guns to Palestine for a Rabbi ( the lengths we go to to support a cause!), marketing a sex herb, placing business ads on the sides of taxis, and buying and promoting companies. (He left one company to his brother Dave, who proceeded to make millions from it, and became a highly regarded businessman in Toronto.) He also dealt in the buying and selling of precious gems, which netted him a prison term in the UK when he was set up by the person that he bought the gems from.
He almost died twice when a bomb was placed under his bed (by individuals that had set him up for a fall, not by his competitors.) He lived because the mattress was of such quality that it staunched his bleeding … a mattress that was designed by one of his brother-in-laws. He was set up by his foes, and he was set up by law enforcement. In his own way, I think it is safe to say that he was a bit naïve.
Myer felt that he was a product of his time. He did what he had to do to get along in life. He himself felt that his great flaw was in having no fear. He ended up in situations where he was taken advantage of, where he ignored the signs and paid the price. Myer didn’t mind paying the price of doing business, but often the playing field was not level for him. When they couldn’t get him for anything else, they got him for crossing the border illegally. He spent more time in jail than others who were true criminals, but he never gave up. His wife divorced him after their child died, he lost a special relationship because the woman was threatened by his enemies, and he had a child, a daughter, by a woman who truly loved him.
Rosen writes through multiple lenses – journalist, nephew, son, and observer. He tells Myer Rush’s story as a story … it flows well, and is a beautiful narrative. We see a man throughout his entire life – what he has to face, how he reacts to it, how his religious and cultural background factors in, what he considers important, and how he lived in the moment, for the moment. It is a blessing that Rosen made the attempt to find his uncle’s daughter, and allowed her to read the manuscript of this book. Through it, she came to understand the father she never knew.
Something else that impressed me is that throughout the narrative Rosen includes tid bits from the politics of the time … which included prohibition and WW II. This book is a wonderful way to get the story out about a less than perfect man who did his best to live life according to his own rules.
© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction is prohibited in all venues without the written permission of the author.