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Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling

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Nevada's casinos and their owners have a colorful and amazing history. Gangsters like "Bugsy" Siegel and Moe Dalitz shaped Las Vegas while Bill Graham and Jim McKay took the reins in Reno and turned the sleepy little town into The Biggest Little City in the World. Their stories are front and center in "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling." Over 70 vintage photos accompany dozen Nevada's casinos and their owners have a colorful and amazing history. Gangsters like "Bugsy" Siegel and Moe Dalitz shaped Las Vegas while Bill Graham and Jim McKay took the reins in Reno and turned the sleepy little town into The Biggest Little City in the World. Their stories are front and center in "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling." Over 70 vintage photos accompany dozens of chapters about early casino from all over the state - Winnemucca, Elko, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe too.


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Nevada's casinos and their owners have a colorful and amazing history. Gangsters like "Bugsy" Siegel and Moe Dalitz shaped Las Vegas while Bill Graham and Jim McKay took the reins in Reno and turned the sleepy little town into The Biggest Little City in the World. Their stories are front and center in "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling." Over 70 vintage photos accompany dozen Nevada's casinos and their owners have a colorful and amazing history. Gangsters like "Bugsy" Siegel and Moe Dalitz shaped Las Vegas while Bill Graham and Jim McKay took the reins in Reno and turned the sleepy little town into The Biggest Little City in the World. Their stories are front and center in "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling." Over 70 vintage photos accompany dozens of chapters about early casino from all over the state - Winnemucca, Elko, Carson City, and Lake Tahoe too.

37 review for Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling

  1. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Franco

    Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling covers the gambling era of 1931-1981. This is my second time reading a book by this author and I am again impressed with all of the things I have learned. Just some highlights to whet the appetite: Mark Twain was a columnist at a newspaper in Virginia City. While I admit I love to read, I am ashamed to admit I am not a huge fan of the classics. Here in Connecticut, we even have one of Mark Twain's homes, yet I never knew the man was a regular old columnist prior t Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling covers the gambling era of 1931-1981. This is my second time reading a book by this author and I am again impressed with all of the things I have learned. Just some highlights to whet the appetite: Mark Twain was a columnist at a newspaper in Virginia City. While I admit I love to read, I am ashamed to admit I am not a huge fan of the classics. Here in Connecticut, we even have one of Mark Twain's homes, yet I never knew the man was a regular old columnist prior to his Huck Finn days! The book also touched on the building of the Hoover Dam, which must have been awesome to witness during those times, as well as the real "beginnings" of the Las Vegas we hear about today. There were references to mobster "Lucky" Luciano that I enjoyed since I attended middle and high school with a guy who claimed he was related to him....true??? Who knows, but it was kind of neat at the time. : ) I found it amazing that even in 1955, Liberace could command $50,000/week to be the opening act at the Riviera. That seems like a lot of money for those times, but I guess not if it helped get folks to gamble even more! I really got a kick out of the part that talked about how Frank Sinatra was part owner of the Sands casino and when new owners took over, he was denied credit. When he argued with the casino manager, he wound up getting two of his front teeth knocked out, as well as a bloody nose! That scenario just doesn't go with the Old Blue Eyes that I picture in my head! The book later went on to discuss how Sinatra was heavily into the casino business until the state Gaming Commission met with him due to his partnership with Sam Giancana (who was permanently barred from ALL Nevada casinos). After the meeting Sinatra "decided to devote more of his time to the entertainment industry and divest himself completely" of his Nevada gaming involvement. I also found it fascinating that in 1924, parcels of land around Lake Tahoe were sold for between $1-5/acre. Don't I wish I could've bought property there back then! There was also a reference to Lovelock, NV. While I have never had a chance to visit there, my aunt and her family lived there for several years before moving back East, and I look forward to mentioning the reference to her. Another part worth mentioning(since I couldn't believe it when I read it) was regarding a poker game set up by Benny Binnion-mainly for his friends Nick "The Greek" Dandalos and Johnny Moss-both well known players from the 30's-60's, that went on every day for nearly FIVE MONTHS! Sometimes the action between the two would go on for 50 hours straight.....now as someone who is completely clueless about poker, that is amazing to me. And the fact that there was upwards of a half-million dollars on the table at all times.....wow. You'll have to read the book to see who won that amazing match up! I also want to add that I really enjoyed the more personal references this book had from the author. Knowing that he partook in this story and was not just a spectator or researcher made it seem even better! And for anyone who has not had the pleasure of reading any of the other books by Al Moe, you can learn more about many of the men mentioned in this book, such as Nick Abelman, George Wingfield, James (Jim) McKay, Meyer Lansky and William (Bill) Graham to name a few in his book The Roots of Reno. Another book well done with even more fantastic pictures!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    There is a lot of good information in this book, but at times (mainly dealing with the earliest origins of Las Vegas) it can be very dry, dense reading. It gets a bit tedious when it begins listing the names of those who owned, operated or had a piece/percentage of the early clubs, often reading like some sort of legal document presenting a history of property ownership more than anything else. Towards the second half of the book it gets much better as the author seems to relax and relate more o There is a lot of good information in this book, but at times (mainly dealing with the earliest origins of Las Vegas) it can be very dry, dense reading. It gets a bit tedious when it begins listing the names of those who owned, operated or had a piece/percentage of the early clubs, often reading like some sort of legal document presenting a history of property ownership more than anything else. Towards the second half of the book it gets much better as the author seems to relax and relate more of the human side of those early empire builders who were really interesting characters (perhaps the difference is that many of these were more of the loner variety so the author can concentrate on a single person rather than listing more names). The book is at its best when offering brief glimpses of the entertainers who came and went as Nevada gambling grew and prospered, also when discussing in more detail some of the more colorful people who made or lost their fortunes during those same years. The epilogue would have been better served as a prologue since it explains that the author is trying to present a “glimpse at the history of Nevada’s legalized gambling since its inception in 1931, through its Golden Anniversary in 1981.” The Index in the rear of the book is a bit of a head-scratcher. People are listed in alphabetical order according to their first names, for instance if you’re looking for Frank Sinatra you would look under F for Frank. This book would make a nice starting point for someone looking to get basic facts about Nevada’s early gaming history. ***I received this book as part of a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway

  3. 4 out of 5

    RiskingTime

    This book is a pretty light read. It features some interesting tidbits for the reader who is knowledgeable in the history of Nevada. I can picture other readers being senior citizens who are long-time residents of Nevada and who are interested in local history. The parts of the book I enjoyed the best were about the small towns and forgotten casinos, and I was less interested in the parts about Las Vegas since there is so much other material written on that place and subject. I figure the Las Ve This book is a pretty light read. It features some interesting tidbits for the reader who is knowledgeable in the history of Nevada. I can picture other readers being senior citizens who are long-time residents of Nevada and who are interested in local history. The parts of the book I enjoyed the best were about the small towns and forgotten casinos, and I was less interested in the parts about Las Vegas since there is so much other material written on that place and subject. I figure the Las Vegas mob influence is a popular topic with most casual readers, so I understand why this section featured prominently. I would have also enjoyed this book more if the images were of higher quality. This must have been a low budget printing and some of the images are blurry. I would have been willing to pay more money for a higher-end coffee table book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    When I first agreed to review this book, I was afraid it was going to be all about gambling and nothing else....wow, was I wrong! Al narrates "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling" a true account of what had taken place while Las Vegas was building and growing with understandable words and fantastic vintage pictures. I truly enjoyed reading this book and found I learned so much about how it all started out. Al's words allow you to get to meet the colorful, and not so colorful characters that made Las When I first agreed to review this book, I was afraid it was going to be all about gambling and nothing else....wow, was I wrong! Al narrates "Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling" a true account of what had taken place while Las Vegas was building and growing with understandable words and fantastic vintage pictures. I truly enjoyed reading this book and found I learned so much about how it all started out. Al's words allow you to get to meet the colorful, and not so colorful characters that made Las Vegas what it is today. Highly recommended for all who love to learn how places became to be. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author which was provided for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    john rogers

  6. 5 out of 5

    Steve

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  8. 4 out of 5

    Good

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elaine T

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  12. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carol

  15. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  16. 5 out of 5

    Teracia

  17. 4 out of 5

    Violet

  18. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Winfield

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jaime

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer beck

  23. 5 out of 5

    Danielle Joy

  24. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Meyer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jef

  27. 5 out of 5

    ed Lucas

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelley Lee

  29. 4 out of 5

    Russell Moore

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  31. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

  32. 5 out of 5

    Sue Anne

  33. 5 out of 5

    Jaded

  34. 4 out of 5

    George

  35. 5 out of 5

    Leslie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  37. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

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