Beyond the Mafia: Italian Americans and the Development of Las Vegas

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For thousands of Italian Americans, Las Vegas has amply fulfilled the American dream. In this fast-paced, readable book, Alan Balboni argues that Las Vegas afforded Italian Americans unusual opportunities for rapid economic and social advancement, and that they were allowed to be assimilated into the community at a much quicker pace there than anywhere else in the country. In return, they brought talents and interests that hastened the city's development from a dusty Mojave Desert railroad stop to the ...
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1996 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 168 p. Contains: Illustrations. Wilbur S. Shepperson Series in History & Humanities ... (Hardcover). Audience: General/trade. Clean, tight copy with no writing. APPEARS NEVER TO HAVE BEEN READ! As new dust jacket with some light shelf wear. Read more Show Less

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Overview

For thousands of Italian Americans, Las Vegas has amply fulfilled the American dream. In this fast-paced, readable book, Alan Balboni argues that Las Vegas afforded Italian Americans unusual opportunities for rapid economic and social advancement, and that they were allowed to be assimilated into the community at a much quicker pace there than anywhere else in the country. In return, they brought talents and interests that hastened the city's development from a dusty Mojave Desert railroad stop to the entertainment capital of the world. While a few were among the early twentieth-century Las Vegas pioneers, the great migration of Italian Americans occurred after World War II. Italian Americans played key roles in the establishment, staffing, and growth of the Strip and Glitter Gulch hotels. Of the headline entertainers of the fifties and sixties, one quarter were men and women of Italian-American background, and they were also well represented among the lounge performers, musicians, developers, architects, and contractors who transformed Las Vegas into a major city of the American Southwest. In addressing the issue of organized crime, Balboni acknowledges the substantial Italian-American presence among the ranks of men with shadowy pasts who brought capital and gaming expertise to Las Vegas. He contends, however, that the ethnic group as a whole received much undeserved adverse publicity due to the myth of the Mafia - the belief that all organized crime is ultimately controlled by a few Sicilian crime families. Beyond the Mafia is authoritative and thoroughly documented, yet it has all the vitality and immediacy of the more than 150 interviews of key individuals that form its core. The book provides a valuable window on the productive and progressive Italian-American community within Las Vegas.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Balboni history and political science, Community College of Southern Nevada interviews some 150 successful Las Vegan Italian Americans in an attempt to wipe away the notion that every Italian American has Mob connections. He also explores their role in the post-World War II growth of the Strip area, the nature and extent of organized crime in Las Vegas, and relations with Jewish Americans in the gaming industry. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface: The Interviewing Process
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Ch. 1 The Early Years: From Laborers to Successful Entrepreneurs 1
Ch. 2 The Rapid Growth Years: Italian Americans Come to Las Vegas 19
Ch. 3 The Corporate Era: Italian Americans Prosper 61
Ch. 4 Italian American Organizations: Preserving Ethnic Heritage in a Time of Assimilation 105
Ch. 5 Conclusion: The Immigrant Upraised 131
List of Interviewees 135
Notes 137
Selected Bibliography 151
Index 159
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