The Real Las Vegas by David Littlejohn
Life Beyond the Strip

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Synopsis

What images come to mind when you think of Las Vegas?
Mobsters and showgirls, magicians and tigers, multimillion-dollar poker games and prizefights; towering signboards that light up the night in front of ever more spectacular casino hotels.
But real people live here, too--over a million today, two million tomorrow. Greater Las Vegas has long been the fastest growing metropolitan area in America. And almost every aspect of its citizens' lives is influenced by the almighty power of the gambling industry.
A team of fifteen reporters led by David Littlejohn, together with prize winning photo-journalist Eric Gran, studied the "real" Las Vegas--the city beyond the Strip and Downtown--for the better part of a year. They talked to teenagers (whose suicide and dropout rates frighten parents), senior citizens (many of whom spend their days playing bingo and the slots), Mexican immigrants (who build the new houses and clean the hotels), homeless people and angry blacks, as well as local police, active Christians, city officials, and prostitutes. They looked into the local churches, the powerful labor unions, pawn shops, the real estate boom, defiant ranchers to the north, and dire predictions that the city is about to run out of water.
Proud Las Vegans claim that theirs is just a friendly southwestern boomtown--"the finest community I have ever lived in," says Bishop Daniel Walsh, who comes from San Francisco. But their picture of Las Vegas as a vibrant, civic-minded metropolis conflicts with evidence of transiency, rootlessness, political impotence, and social dysfunction.
In this close-up investigation of the real lives being led in America's most tourist-jammed, gambling-driven city, readers will discover a Las Vegas very different from the one they may have seen or imagined.
 

About David Littlejohn

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David Littlejohn is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He has written or edited eleven previous books, and is the West Coast arts correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. He lives in Kensington, California.
 
Published October 28, 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA. 352 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Travel. Non-fiction

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And small wonder, he adds, that so many people are now flocking to Las Vegas to stake a share in the jackpot: between 1990 and 1997 the metropolitan area grew by an astonishing 48 percent, “a record no other large U.S. county even comes close to matching.” This growth, in Littlejohn’s view, is of...

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As Littlejohn, Professor Emeritus of journalism at the UC-Berkeley, points out in his introduction, not only is Las Vegas the fastest growing urban area in the country, it is the number one tourist and convention destination, despite its disturbingly high rates of crime, bankruptcy, divorce and h...

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