From Publishers Weekly
Vegas-based reporter Burbank aims to cut through the hype that surrounds the country's top tourist Mecca and reveal-in addition to the usual tales of excess and self-destruction-the "seriously malfunctioning society beneath the 'It's Vegas, baby!' façade." Part gossip smorgasbord, part cautionary tale, the book speeds through the city's century-long history, from its mob-dominated early flourishing to the less murderous but still sleazy local politics scene. (Where else are elected officials busted by the FBI in a topless club bribery investigation codenamed "G-Sting?") Burbank has taken his cue (and his title) from Kenneth Anger's iconic Hollywood Babylon, but this work has less of Anger's over-the-top cantankerous style, über-insider posturing and lurid details-it's more of a journalistic reckoning than a dark counter-myth of its own. A large chunk of the book is taken up by a catalogue of Vegas celebrity lore, dishing grand scandals like JFK's troubled affair with a mob moll alongside ridiculous fluff, such as a P.R. confrontation between Robin Leach and Emeril Lagasse over whipped-cream-smothered party girls. Burbank's doggedly contrarian stance is his main asset, and he has thought-provoking points to make on the drastic social and environmental costs of poorly-regulated city expansion and the monopolized local media. It might not attain the cult-classic status of its Hollywood namesake, but readers will enjoy a well-researched volume of lively stories about a city that turned 100 this year, and, like a chintzy lounge singer, shows no signs of slowing down.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
It's an all-you-can-eat buffet of scandal and A-list embarrassment. (Playgirl