People all over the world know Las Vegas as gambling’s Mecca, Sin City, the Entertainment Capital of the World, a resort destination attracting more than thirty-five million visitors per year, including the world’s hottest celebrities. But that’s just one part of the story of this metropolis of two million people. It’s the other parts that veteran journalist Geoff Schumacher places under the microscope in Sun, Sin & Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas.
This carefully documented history tracks the rise of Las Vegas from its vital role during World War II to the arrival of Frank Sinatra’s Rat Pack to the explosive growth of the 1990s. Schumacher surveys the history of the iconic Strip from the early ’40s to the present, debunking myths and highlighting key players such as Howard Hughes, Kirk Kerkorian, and Steve Wynn.
But Schumacher’s history also profiles the Las Vegas where people actually live: the neighborhoods sprawling beyond the Strip’s neon gleam and into the foothills, a diverse community offering much more than table games, lounge acts, and organized crime.
In this revised and expanded edition, Schumacher brings the Las Vegas story up to date, charting its course from nation’s fastest-growing metropolis to one of the Great Recession’s most battered victims. From the rocky rise of CityCenter to the mayoral reign of Oscar Goodman, the history of Las Vegas is a tale of big risks, big rewards, and colossal collapses.
Drawing on twenty-three years as a journalist in Las Vegas, Schumacher tells the city’s story with the accuracy and perspective that only someone who lived through it could do. Sun, Sin & Suburbia is required reading for newcomers who want to learn about their new hometown, and an essential addition to any longtime resident’s library of local lore.
A study of Las Vegas would not be complete without including the Las Vegas years of Howard Hughes, one of the most famous and enigmatic Americans of the twentieth century. Howard Hughes packed theaters with his blockbuster films, thrilled the world with his aviation exploits, was linked with almost every major film beauty of the 1930s and ’40s, and transformed his father’s small fortune into a vast business empire, becoming one of the world’s first billionaires.
But for all his celebrated achievements, Hughes’ later years in Las Vegas – when drug addiction, bizarre behavior, and a casino buying spree dominated his days – continue to fascinate the public. In Howard Hughes: Power, Politics & Palace Intrigue, Schumacher paints an engrossing portrait of a man whose impact on the city is still being felt today.