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The book is in three sections. The first section is an introduction to the six men who arguably have shaped the growth of Las Vegas the most, back in the day. Nobody is perfect, least of all the successful, so these me I have lived in Las Vegas for one year, and, as I will tell anyone that will listen, I bloody love the place.

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Nobody is perfect, least of all the successful, so these men have done some bad things. Some of them have been punished for it, one of them got an airport named after him. I found this section useful, I am glad I know this information about these famous names now. The second part is a detailed account of how these movers, shakers, Mafia-members, criminals and the Church of Latter-Day Saints actually did it. They built this crazy city in the middle of nowhere, out of nothing.

The third part covers the way American law and government dealt with the result of Las Vegas and its organised crime.

It also covers the Vegas of my lifetime — the hotels shooting up through the 80s and 90s, and the story of Steve Wynn, who seems rather interesting, and I would like to read more about him. I like the mini-biography-ness of this book. I sort of like that the authors genuinely believe that Vegas is at the heart of everything that happened in American history since or so, and do their best to argue this, however tenuous a person's link is to the city. Personally, I am still working out quite what American-ness is.

I really don't think that a nation of any size, let alone one as huge as the US, can have a collective personality. Many of the vices offered here in Vegas are not the worst things a person can do with their time. The only thing that can be done here, rather than in many other places is the gambling.

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Sex and drinking and cavorting can be had anywhere on the face of the planet. I don't fully buy this.

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America is such a young country that all these things were evolving as the city of Las Vegas happened to be developing. No doubt one could write a similar book about Chicago or New York, and these cities' impact on Washington and the running of the country as a whole. But then, I don't live in either of those places, so that book wouldn't have been quite as interesting.

Aug 08, Walt rated it liked it Shelves: americana , organized-crime. The authors try to connect Las Vegas to every major historical event of the ss in America. There is also an attempt to show how a cabal of increasingly fewer and fewer casino owners, crooked politicians, and organized crime sought to influence national politics.

The arguments have weak support and have a difficult time convincing even a sympathetic-minded conspiracy theorist. Each chapter has references at the end of the book. The references do not refer to specific passages, but genera The authors try to connect Las Vegas to every major historical event of the ss in America. The references do not refer to specific passages, but generally refer to each chapter.

This might account for some of the organization of each chapter. The book starts out with organized crime and the creation of big casinos in the s. This aspect of the city is well known and documented. The shady world of bank finance is exposed in this book, but it hardly is illegal or unethical to bankroll casino development.

The book becomes increasingly difficult to accept and endorse as the authors struggle to connect Howard Hughes to organized crime.

About this book

Without anything more concrete, the reader should be more sympathetic to Wynn and his lawsuits against publishers. In support of the the book, the authors disclose the presence of many people who are not generally well-known in connection with Las Vegas, people like Perry Thomas, Paul Laxalt, and Hank Greenspun.

The authors do a convincing job at connecting these men to each other and the better-known personalities. Morris and Denton's book takes a grander sweep of Nevada history than does Reid, and brings us up to the millennium, Steve Wynn, and Harry Reid no relation, Ed's kids will have you know!

Sidenote : I have often been told that I mispronounce the name of the 36th state. Usually, I say "Na-va-da" and am admonished with "Na-vad-ah. I understand the principles of Anglicization and toponyms, how words and names bestowed by one group take on new, individual, and perhaps truer meaning when later groups muck up the sounding out. After all, I grew up in the Lower Hudson Valley where every Algonquin or Dutch name has been morphed into something else.

I will definitely bring this up at some point with a native Nevadan because I am, say it with me, an idiot. Although I gave this book four stars, that comes with a sort of caveat. The authors at times, seem to exaggerate and try to drive home their point that Las Vegas is and was the center of the universe yes, its hyperbole on my part, similar to the way this book is written. The history covered is thorough, well researched and doesn't hold back on some of the details.

However, the context in which the authors seemingly attempt to find meaning in everything leads to some broad brush strokes that ma Although I gave this book four stars, that comes with a sort of caveat.

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However, the context in which the authors seemingly attempt to find meaning in everything leads to some broad brush strokes that make things that happened larger than life. If you are interested in the history of Las Vegas, including the ties to the mafia and crime, this is a good book to read. I took the opinions with a grain of salt, instead focusing on the history while drawing my own conclusions as to the meaning of such events After a trip to Las Vegas last year, I've become interested in its history and the cast of characters that have contributed to its various facets.

Casinos, hotels, the mob, air-conditioning, the LDS Church, politicians, etc. Edgar Hoover. Jul 05, John rated it liked it. Much more focused on the national political connections of Vegas to the United States, and how gambling money has influenced political decisions. Continuously hints at illicit ties of organized crime to Las Vegas, but without a lot of supporting evidence.


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Not much on the actual development of the companies and casinos, or really Vegas itself. Nov 21, Amber rated it it was amazing Shelves: book-club. This was a fascinating look at the creation of Las Vegas and the effect his city has had on the world throughout the 20th century. Reading this book will make you look at th world of gambling, politics and crime differently.

Great book. Aug 02, Curtis rated it really liked it Shelves: own , arts-culture , history-usath-century , writer-usa , to-read-no-audio. Dense, thorough, fascinating read -- a sobering and undeniable case for how imbedded corruption is and has been in American government since at least the dawn of Las Vegas. Shocking complicity by the Mormon Church adds to the sense of hypocrisy on efeels about them these days.

Jul 27, Francis Coulombe added it.

May 13, T Sunclades rated it did not like it. The sourcing of the information gets in the way of the story at every possible point. The worst construction of a narrative thread based on true events. Holly Riccio rated it really liked it Feb 26, Larry Henry rated it it was amazing Mar 10, Stephanie rated it liked it Aug 29, Donna Metzler rated it really liked it Nov 14, Vince Mandin rated it it was amazing Sep 18, Will rated it really liked it Jun 22, Eric rated it really liked it Sep 19, Diego Galvan rated it it was amazing Jan 03, As a result, he failed to cultivate the friendships and working relationships with Democrats and Republicans alike that would ease the passage of landmark legislation.

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