The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America

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9780375401305: The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America
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The shadowy past and present of Las Vegas—and its role in the shaping of today's America—are here revealed as never before by two of the country's leading investigative reporters. After five years of intensive research and interviewing, Sally Denton and Roger Morris make clear how and why Las Vegas became the greatest "business success story" of the twentieth century, and how the rest of America ensured this success by contributing capital as well as customers.

Headquarters of a trillion-dollar worldwide empire, the site of unprecedented political and economic power, Las Vegas, in the view of Denton and Morris, is by no means an aberrant sin city. They demonstrate how, on the contrary, it has grown out of, and reflects, a corruption and a worship of money that have crept into American life since Prohibition.

They trace the original funds for the founding of the Las Vegas we know today to nationwide narcotics trafficking. They show how deeply a multiethnic criminal syndicate, in part feeding off gambling profits and the skim in Las Vegas, came to influence American politics and the larger society, and how pervasively its "style of business" has penetrated the entire nation.

Denton and Morris detail the amazing rise and reach of Meyer Lansky—the mind that ran the city; exactly how criminals, politicians, and businessmen worked together to control Las Vegas; the curious interplay of the city with the fates of Joseph, John F., and Robert Kennedy; how Howard Hughes and J. Edgar Hoover vastly intensified the city’s corruption; how Mormon bankers and Wall Street financiers have bankrolled and profited from casinos ruled by organized crime; how a handful of dedicated journalists and law enforcement officers were destroyed before they could expose the city’s secrets.

The Money and the Power is a detailed and illuminating chronicle of an extraordinary place and time—
and a provocative reinterpretation of twentieth-century American history.

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Review:

"There is no place like it. It is literally a beacon of Civilization.... Only Mecca inspires as many pilgrims." So write Sally Denton and Roger Morris about Las Vegas, Nevada, which emerged in the last years of the 20th century as America's fastest-growing city, and in the process, a family-entertainment and cultural center. But underlying that Las Vegas--and underlying the authors' fine narrative--is an older, decidedly less friendly city, one shaped by an "alliance of gamblers, gangsters, and government" to cater to every kind of human weakness. This Las Vegas, populated by notorious criminals, dangerous eccentrics, and ambitious empire-builders, exercised an extraordinary influence on the nation's politics and economy. Few presidents elected in the last century did not come calling on the desert city to secure funds and favors, even as Las Vegas's thriving economy came under the control of a handful of powerful men.

Full of strange episodes and characters, the history of Las Vegas is too little known. Denton and Morris's revisionist, past-as-prologue look at how Las Vegas came to be is a startling, original work that adds much to our understanding of recent American history. --Gregory McNamee

From the Back Cover:

“The history of Vegas’s dark underside . . . has seldom been so abundantly and compellingly told.” –The Washington Post Book World

“Riveting. . . Absorbing. . . A saga of underworld subculture that intersects with that of government agents, senators, and presidents and ranges from Cuba to Dallas to Watergate.”–The Wall Street Journal

“A must-read. . . . One of the most important non-fiction books published in the U.S. in [a] half century.” –Los Angeles Times

“Something on every page hits like a meat ax. In their unsparing, meticulous reporting, Denton and Morris produce a compelling, important dossier.”–New York Daily News

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9780375701269: The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America

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ISBN 10:  0375701265 ISBN 13:  9780375701269
Publisher: Vintage, 2002
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