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Breaks, Brains and Balls is the story of one of the most outrageous characters ever to emerge from the American West -- not Buffalo Bill, not Wyatt Earp, not Howard Hughes, but Joe Conforte, who made Nevada's Mustang Ranch the biggest, brightest and most famous whorehouse in the USA, maybe the world. He made prostitution legal in America.
"I have a very good memory, very good, and in this book I tell it just the way I remember it, from a little boy in Sicily, watching my mother fanning the fire beneath the big outdoor cooking pot with a raven's wing to now, in my penthouse apartment in Rio De Janeiro with the most beautiful young girl in Brazil for my companion.
"Do you think it was easy, getting to this paradise? No. Like the book says, it took breaks, brains and balls every step of the way, from a street-smart runaway kid in New York City to owning the Mustang Ranch in the Nevada desert, putting millions into a Swiss bank account, getting away to Brazil and then going on the run from Interpol, always one little mistake away from losing everything.
"And I made it!
"I beat the world!"
Joe Conforte's's story might have been written by Horatio Alger on acid — the penniless immigrant boy who comes to America, runs away from home and in 1942 makes his way west to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. By the time he's 18 he's driving his yellow convertible to Tijuana on weekends for the gambling and the bullfights. By the time he's 30 he's opening a brothel out in the sagebrush east of Reno, where three counties come together near the Truckee River. He named it the Triangle River Ranch, and and the rest is . . . mostly myth.
Until now. In "Brains, Breaks and Balls" Joe tells the story of his life in the same bold way that he has lived it, and he shares the secret of his success.
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In 1974 David Toll and some friends revived the fondly-remembered Gold Hill NEWS, a bonanza-era newspaper last published in 1882. At the time the Mustang Ranch was the leading enterprise in Storey County and Joe Conforte was in his prime. Joe became an advertiser in the paper and was an often-quoted local celebrity. When Oscar Bonavena was shot dead at the whorehouse gate, Joe gave his first interview to the NEWS.
The reborn paper coughed up its last edition on Nevada Day 1978, the year Toll received the First Place award for feature writing in a weekly paper. The next year he took first place for feature writing in a daily. By then he'd written "The Complete Nevada Traveler", the first guidebook to the state since the 1939 WPA guide and now, after a dozen editions, it is the bestselling book ever published in Nevada.
That venture led to publishing small editions of other Nevada books. "Squaw Tom's stories had been one of the most popular features of the Gold Hill NEWS," Toll says, "so I gathered them into a book.
"And I was lucky in my choice of great-grandfathers. He was an exceptional man and had played an important role on the Comstock. He knew everyone above and below ground, and he wrote about them years later. His book had been out of print for 50 years when I republished it.
"This book completes a trilogy of sorts: three authentic Nevada voices, each from a different background, each in his own time, and each expressing a unique aspect of the Nevada adventure."
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Book Description Gold Hill Publishing Co., 2011. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110940936186