- Paperback: 255 pages
- Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (June 1, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415935571
- ISBN-13: 978-0415935579
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,124,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Suburban Xanadu: The Casino Resort on the Las Vegas Strip and Beyond 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
""Suburban Xanadu is an important addition to what we know about America's most exciting and controversial city. Dave Schwartz peels back myth to get to the heart of what really makes Las Vegas tick. A must for anyone who cares about culture in the new century!."
-Hal Rothman, author of "Neon Metropolis: How Las Vegas Started the Twenty-First Century
""Suburban Xanadu tells the fascinating story of the rise of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip--something that has been much needed. Using the extensive Gaming Collection at UNLV, Dave Schwartz shows us that the popularity of casinos is no accident, but part of larger trends in American history. He approaches the topic with intelligence and thoughtfulness, and the result is a book that does a great job of explaining why Americans like casino resorts so much."
-Steve Wynn, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Wynn Resorts
"Highly Recommended! "Suburban Xanadu is a colorful and authoritative reading of the history of casino resort development in the United States. Schwartz's thesis--that Las Vegas in the 1950s and 1960s was brilliantly marketed as a safe vacation adventure for middle Americans trapped within everyday lives of conservatism and conformity--is both perceptive and spot-on."
-John Hannigan, author of "Fantasy City: Pleasure and Profit in the Postmodern Metropolis
From the Publisher
David G. Schwartz of the University of Nevada Las Vegas tears down myth to create an honest, accurate history of the casino industry.
While the history of Las Vegas-style casino resorts is relatively brief, dating only to the 1940s, these institutions are fascinating subjects for historical study. Working from the assumption that the men and women who operated and vacationed in Strip casinos were "more or less rational people acting to maximize their profit," Schwartz examines the conditions that led to the first flowering of the casino industry outside of Las Vegas in the late 1940s and explains how a variety of factors aided the growth of the Strip through the 1990s. When other states tried to use casinos to provide economic stimuli, however, they often ignored the fact that casino resorts were specific adaptations to the conditions of a suburban strip in an isolated city, and not blueprints for urban redevelopment.
Schwartz, acclaimed by Casino Design magazine as "gamings leading historian, rewrites the standard history of casinos, bringing to light many previously ignored facts about the resorts of the Strip and elsewhere. Some of Schwartzs major points include the following:
"neither casino operators nor patrons are fundamentally deviant, but are in fact more or less rational people acting to maximize their profit and vacation value, respectively." (2)
As they have been developed on the Strip, casino resorts are incompatible with classic urban downtowns (6-7)
The popularity of illegal urban slots in the 1940s doomed them to extinction in the 1950s, and paved the way for the growth of the Las Vegas Strip as a vacation destination. (22)
The first casino resort on the Strip, the Hotel El Rancho Vegas, opened in April 1941, over five years before the more famous Flamingo. (34)
The first themed Strip casino, the western Last Frontier, opened in 1942. (44)
Hollywood restaurateur Billy Wilkerson, not the infamous Bugsy Siegel, was the actual founder of the Flamingo Hotel. (52)
The anti-gambling campaigns of Estes Kefauver and others in the early 1950s actually boosted Las Vegas by eliminating the competition. (72)
Syndicate ownership, not sole proprietorship, was the norm for early casinos. (104)
Casinos had strict accounting procedures and controls as far back as the 1940s, long before the so-called "corporate takeover" in the 1970s. (114)
Conventions, not its reputation as "Sin City," made Las Vegas a leading destination in the 1960s. (134)
The rebirth of casino theming with Caesars Palace in 1966 was rooted in fiscal necessity and made solid economic sense. (136)
Long-building economic trends, not Howard Hughess whim to buy up available casinos, led to the arrival of corporate casino ownership in the late 1960s. (151)
The successes and shortcomings of casinos in places like Atlantic City and Mississippi can be directly traced to their evolution on the suburban Las Vegas
Internet gaming will change the landscape of legal American gambling: "The containment of casinos in space, strained by the expansion of [terrestrial] casinos completely collapsed with the introduction of Internet gaming. (213)
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Schwartz is probably the world's foremost authority on the subject matter. And may be the only person who teaches it at the university level. Anyone who can get a cover blurb from Hal Rothman and Steve Wynn has to be respected.
So, seeing the generally positive reviews (and checking out the author's website which is quite interesting), I ordered a copy. I was expecting a fairly dense read--the author is a professional historian--but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get into.
There is a lot of great information about Vegas history in here, as well as Atlantic City, and a little on Indian casinos and riverboats too. I'd seen the movie Bugsy, but I had no idea that he wasn't the real founder of the Strip. Thanks to this book, I know now.
The author must have had a lot of fun writing this; even though it's a pretty serious book, there are some great one-liners in there. I actually laughed a few times.
The more I read, the more I realized there is to this topic, and I wish that the author had written more about Reno, for example, but for starters, this is a great introduction to the history of casinos, and a fun read. For anyone who's taken the trip to Vegas and wondered about where it came from, it's a welcome addition to your library.
Dr. Schwartz is also very secure in his knowledge of the "real" history of gambling, legalized or otherwise. Just when you think you know the truth, as it has been told for generations, here comes a maverick historian to turn your conceptions upside-down.
Seriously, does anyone have any respect for Senator McCarran before they read about his valiant battle to keep Nevada's peculiar peculiarity as peacefully peculiar as possible, without the wretched government interfering?
And would the world's FOREMOST AUTHORITY on gambling, Dr. William Eadington, make Dr. David Schwartz's book required reading for his class if it were not one of the leading texts on the subject?
His book is a true delight to read, and, as it is broken up into bite-sized sections with headings such as "The Californication of the casino resort" and "Requiem for a bootlegger", you can read a few pages and then ponder or nap without the guilt associated with reading only halfway through a chapter.
How's that for a review that sounds like it was poured straight from the fount of the commonfolk! Normal people DO read this kind of stuff too, so don't be afraid to crack it open!