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Nevada is on the edge, on the wire, off to one side, in the empty quarter, or even in the rest of the country's head as an idea, a possibility, an alternative. It is an experiment, or a kind of theater.... for America has used Nevada as a testing ground, and not just for weapons and their destructiveness but also for new social ideas, and their explosiveness. What happens if you allow divorce, prostitution, gambling? Can there be community and purpose if you encourage things deep in human nature yet supposedly alien to order and togetherness? Don't we need to find out?Much of the union's most rapidly growing state remains a mystery. Area 51, for instance, just 50 miles northwest of the Las Vegas neon, is a chunk of desert larger than Connecticut, forbidden to anyone without official government clearance. Such desolation defines much of the state, whether or not off-limits. Indeed, "it is the deep and ultimate vacancy of the place that stimulates storytelling," says Thomson, and to prove his point, he covers topics as varied as the Burning Man Festival, Frank Sinatra, pugilism, conspiracy theories, alleged UFO storage facilities, nuclear waste, and gambling, to name precious few.
Thomson's meandering style is well suited to the subject. Moving easily from the floor of a frenetic casino to the loneliest stretch of highway, his compelling stories and observations convey "the power of Nevada as a place and as an idea." The result is an absorbing and amusing tour rife with surprises. "I hope I may leave you wanting to go there, to be there, to see and feel it for yourself," he writes. In Nevada undoubtedly succeeds. --Shawn Carkonen
I found this book fascinating. It brought back many pleasant memories of trips to Nevada over the past forty years. I learned a lot from this book.Published on October 30, 2010 by Eric Wagner
Granted Daid Thomson provides an entertaining read with "In Nevada" but I share some of the other reviewers' distastes. For instance, a couple of chapters (e.g. Read morePublished on March 3, 2002 by Philip Carl