Suburban Xanadu: Reviews

Advance praise

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, Wynn Resorts

“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

“Highly recommended! Suburban Xanadu is a colorful and authoritative reading of the history of casino resort development in the U.S. 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


Schwartz takes a fresh look at the rise of the Strip over the past 60 years, making some intriguing assertations that contradict the oversimplified conventional wisdom about how the mob built the city.
– From Nevada Public Radio’s Southern Nevada Cultural Guide, which rated Suburban Xanadu one of the top ten books ever written about Las Vegas.

Schwartz is masterful in his analysis of gaming in America, Nevada, and finally Las Vegas…Importantly, Schwartz documents both the owners and the specific architecture of major strip resorts. His command of casino operations is superb. I would recommend this book.
— Perry Kaufman, Western Historical Quarterly

Happily, David Schwartz has taken on [casino history], combining scholarship and an excellent writing style with a fair sense of humor to explore how the Las Vegas Strip got to be the way it is. It hardly bears mentioning that in printing the facts, he demolishes legends…The book also provides an excellent introduction to how casinos are run, and interviews with employees from pit bosses to show girls present a rounded view of casino/hotel operations. Schwartz also moves beyond Las Vegas to survey Atlantic City, Mississippi riverboats, other states legalizing gambling, and the impact of Indian casinos. In sum, the book succeeds both at the level of scholarly investigation and as a fascinating account of a major source of guilty pleasure in America.
–Abraham Hoffman, H-Net Reviews

“It’s hard to walk the fine line between academic credibility and accessible prose, but Dave Schwartz does so admirably in Suburban Xanadu. Schwartz demystifies the collective fascination for Las Vegas, showing how the casino industry developed alongside suburbia in America and how the pairing of gambling with luxury resorts fulfilled a desire among Americans for safe entertainment away from the city. It’s a scholarly yet colorful take on a phenomenon that has never before garnered such a thorough examination.”
–Meredith McGhan, Las Vegas City Life

“Suburban Xanadu is a wonderful book filled with facts, that in many cases, oudoes the strange reality that Las Vegas engenders. It was great reading about the old time legends of the town. I truly enjoyed it!”
–Larry Grossman, host, You Can Bet On It!

“Schwartz does two important things with Suburban Xanadu: 1) He provides a succinct and readable overview of Strip history, and 2) he offers a fresh way of looking at how and why the Strip became the world’s premier resort destination. The second part is what separates this book from the pack. Schwartz cuts through the crap that has dominated popular perceptions of the Strip for 50 years, and in the process provides a clear-eyed look at its economic and social underpinnings.”
–Geoff Schumacher, Las Vegas Mercury

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