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

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

Las Vegas—the name evokes images of divorce and dice, gangsters and glitz. But beneath it all is a sordid history that is much more insidious and far-reaching than ever imagined. The Money and the Power is the most comprehensive look yet at Las Vegas and its breadth of influence. Based on five years of intensive research and interviewing, Sally Denton and Roger Morris reveal the city’s historic network of links to Wall Street, international drug traffickers, and the CIA. In doing so, they expose the disturbing connections amongst politicians, businessmen, and the criminals that harness these illegal activities. Through this lucid and gripping indictment of Las Vegas, Morris and Denton uncover a national ethic of exploitation, violence, and greed, and provide a provocative reinterpretation of twentieth-century American history. Now this neon maelstrom of ruthlessness and greed stands to not as an aberrant “sin city,” but as a natural outgrowth of the corruption and worship of money that have come to permeate American life.

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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 Inside Flap:

Las Vegas-the name evokes images of divorce and dice, prostitutes and payoffs, gangsters and glitz. But beneath it all is a sordid history that is much more insidious and far-reaching than ever imagined. Now, at the dawn of the new century, this neon maelstrom of ruthlessness and greed stands to not as an aberrant "sin city," but as a natural outgrowth of the corruption and worship of money that have come to permeate American life.
The Money and the Power is the most comprehensive look yet at Las Vegas and its breadth of influence. Based on five years of intensive research and interviewing, Sally Denton and Roger Morris reveal the city's historic network of links to Wall Street, international drug traffickers, and the CIA. In doing so, they expose the disturbing connections amongst politicians, businessmen, and the criminals that harness these illegal activities. Through this lucid and gripping indictment of Las Vegas, Morris and Denton uncover a national ethic of exploitation, violence, and greed, and provide a provocative reinterpretation of twentieth-century American history.

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