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Super Casino: Inside the "New" Las Vegas
by Pete Earley
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553573497, Mass Market Paperback)Former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley, whose several books include a study of Leavenworth Prison, turns his meticulous journalistic eye on yet another notorious venue: Las Vegas. Don't expect him to unearth a spate of scandalous doings, though: Sin City isn't quite what it used to be. "Howard Hughes is now only a historical footnote," Earley writes. "Liberace's trademark candelabra sits in a museum. Elvis has been gone so long that tourists often think his impersonators look more like the King than he did. The old Las Vegas is dead."
The new Vegas, however, is very much alive. In two years of visits, with particular access to the Egyptian-themed Luxor Hotel, Earley gathers a comprehensive history of the city's "gaming" industry, including the biographies of such important figures as the Bellagio's Steve Wynn. He also takes a firsthand look into the lives of several Vegas residents and regulars. The book's chapters, often dense with historical fact, are neatly interrupted by fascinating first-person accounts: an old-time dealer talks about being threatened by Frank Sinatra, a hotel manager at a casino gets chewed out by her boss for renting out a $5,000 room to movie stars, and a cab driver talks about falling out of love with this high-rolling town, though he still tries to get his cut of the money. "The money," he says. "There is so much of it in this town that you learn to close your eyes. I hate it but I can't walk away. Who can?" Perhaps the readers of Super Casino will be able to restrain themselves after they read Earley's explanation of how clearly casino odds are stacked against them. --Maria Dolan
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0400)
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