The Grit Beneath the Glitter: Tales from the Real Las Vegas / Edition 1

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The Grit Beneath the Glitter is the first real look at the new Las Vegas from the inside.
In it, long-time residents as well as professionals reflect on the transformation of one of the fastest-growing and most famous cities on earth, yet one about which relatively little is known. They offer a lively and compelling portrait of the other side of Las Vegas: the people and institutions that support the glitter of the gaming and entertainment industry. Examining a range of topics—from the city's commercial history, labor conditions, and environmental problems to an analysis of the famous lights of the Strip—the contributors uncover the contradictions between the illusion and the reality of the city, the seam between fantasy and the life it masks. The essays in this collection explore the world that employees experience when they enter gaming palaces from an employee entrance in a back parking lot rather than through the scripted doors of casino/hotel palaces. They take readers into the neighborhoods where 1.4 million Americans now live, attend school, eat dinner, and go to work.

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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Kirsch
A corrective to half a century of mystification and myth-making about America's fastest-growing city and the world's most popular destination....a fascinating collection of essays.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Rothman and Davis balance quirkiness with intelligence and skepticism with curiosity, avoiding the twin pitfalls of academic jargon and light-handed dismissal.
Library Journal
From casinos and showgirls to culinary workers and academic life, this anthology gives us Las Vegas from the perspective of the people who call it home. Many of the articles are scholarly in nature (editor Rothman is a history professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas), while others come in the form of personal essays. The quality of the scholarly pieces is high; the personal essays range from moving and insightful to just plain dull. While celebrated journalist Davis is a coeditor and contributor, there is nothing new from him here, only reprints of magazine articles now a decade old. Still, his name will increase the demand for and visibility of the collection. Recommended for libraries in the West but an optional purchase for everyone else. Andrew Brodie Smith, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lib., Washington, DC Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520225381
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 3/15/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 388
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Hal Rothman is Professor of History at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.Among his books are Devil's Bargains (1998), The Greening of a Nation? (1998), and Neon Metropolis: How Las Vegas Started the 21st Century (due out in 2002). Mike Davis is Professor of History at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. He is the author of City of Quartz (1992) and Ecology of Fear (1998), among other books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Many Faces of Las Vegas
Hal Rothman and Mike Davis

Part I: Image and Reality
Scripting Las Vegas: Noir Naïfs, Junking Up, and the New Strip
Norman M. Klein
Las Vegas of the Mind: Shooting Movies in and about Nevada
Francisco Menendez
Peter Goin

Part II: Nuts and Bolts
Growth, Services, and the Political Economy of Gambling in Las Vegas, 1970–2000
Eugene Moehring
Lighting Las Vegas: Electricity and the City of Glitz
Jay Brigham
Build It and the Water Will Come
Jon Christensen
The Social Costs of Rapid Urbanization in Southern Nevada
Robert E. Parker
Rise to Power: The Recent History of the Culinary Union in Las Vegas
Courtney Alexander
Class Struggle in Oz
Mike Davis

Part III: Voices
"Squeezing the Juice Out of Las Vegas": Reflections On Growing Up in Smalltown, USA
Brian Frehner
I Didn’t Know Anybody Lived There
Shannon McMackin
How I Became a Native
William N. Thompson

Inside the Glitter: Lives of Casino Workers
Kit Miller

Part IV: Shaping Life
"She Works Hard for Her Money": A Reassessment of Las Vegas Women Workers, 1945–1985
Joanne L. Goodwin
The Racial Cauldron
Mike Davis

Inside Jean
Constance Devereaux
Looking into a Dry Lake: Uncovering the Women’s View of Las Vegas 000
Amie Williams

Part V: From Pariah to Paradigm
Colony, Capital, and Casino: Money in the Real Las Vegas
Hal Rothman
Who Puts the "Sin" in "Sin City" Stories? Girls of Grit and Glitter in the City of Women
Kathryn Hausbeck
Nevada Goes Global: The Foreign Gaming Rule and the Spread of Casinos
William N. Thompson
Canto: Las Vegas
Richard Misrach



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