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Publisher's Summary

Las Vegas was the Mob's greatest venture and most spectacular success, and through 40 years of frenzy, murder, deceit, scams, and skimming, the FBI listened on phone taps and did virtually nothing to stop the fun. This is the truth about the Mob's control of the casinos in Vegas like you've never heard it before, from start to finish.

Two of the nation's most powerful crime family bosses went to prison in the 1930s: Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano. Frank Nitti took over the Chicago Outfit, while Frank Costello ran things for the Luciano Family. Both men were influenced by their bosses from prison, and both sent enough gangsters into the streets to influence loan sharking, extortion, union control, and drug sales. Bugsy Siegel worked for both groups, handling a string of murders and opening up gaming on the west coast, and that included Las Vegas, an oasis of sin in the middle of the desert - and it was legal. Most of it. The FBI watched as the Mob took control of casino after casino, killed off the competition, and stole enough money to bribe their way to respectability back home.

By the 1950s, nearly every major crime family had a stake in a Las Vegas casino. Some did better than others. Casino owners watched-over their profits while competing crime families eyed each other's success like jealous lovers. Murder often followed.

©2013 Al W. Moe (P)2013 Al W. Moe

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

From Bugsy to Binion

Would you try another book from Al W. Moe and/or Jason Sullivan?

Sure, but Jason Sullivan has to do research when he reads a book the subject of which he knows nothing about. There have to be conservatively 12 documentaries about organized crime and Las Vegas he could watch to get the right pronunciation of proper names.

Mr. Moe could eliminate all his sarcasm with benefit. It is not especially amusing to the reader and serves mainly to undermine the journalistic integrity of his prose. I would also like to see a source bibliography. For example Al Moe appears to take it for granted that the urban legend that Joseph Kennedy was a "bootlegger" has substance. Kennedy passed the senate Republicans vetting exam twice when he became Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission and again when he became Ambassador to Great Britain. There is no way those Republicans would have signed off on him had there been even a suggestion that he was involved in the manufacturing or distribution of illegal alcohol during prohibition. Where does Mr. Moe verify his statements and how does he think Kennedy got around those Republican senators? THAT would be a story!

What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

I learned a lot about the history of Ben Binion and his criminal associates. This is also the first time I learned how ineffective Howard Hughes was in rebuilding Las Vegas.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Jason Sullivan?

Mr. Sullivan has a pleasant enough voice and is a good reader. Unfortunately he apparently believes he can get away with guessing at the pronunciations. Kefauver is pronounced KEEF-offer, NOT kifever. Meyer Lansky's first name is pronounced MY-yor NOT Mayor. Raymond Patriarca's last name is pronounced Pat-ri-AR-ka, NOT Patricka. The mispronunciation of Kefauver made me cringe every time he did it and he did it a lot.

Do you think Vegas and the Mob needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Hopefully it does not. Only time can tell us this.

Any additional comments?

Overall I enjoyed the book. It fit in well with other books I've read about these people.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • db
  • 11-06-18

Simply terrible

Just a terrible narration… There are so many cities peoples names etc. etc. that are mispronounced it’s hard to conceive nobody vetted this… In all honesty the story was only a shade better than the narration

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing book

The author does an amazing job summarizing the history of Las Vegas and its connection with the Mob. Will definitely be listening to this again and may even get the actual book for my collection.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 12-25-17

Folksy, sassy, good broad coverage

This is the first work that did a reasonable job of piercing beyond the shallow surface stories and images found in the usual tourist-bait, and traced the deeper links and networks (and cash flows, and characters) pretty well. It sprawls across the decades and the midwest and southwest, all the way to Tahoe and L.A. and San Diego a bit, which I appreciate. People, hotels, eras, murders and so on, get pretty thorough coverage (up to maybe the 90s), in a jokesy, bemused, but pretty good and factual way. Sometimes the phony accent voiced in a quote of a mobster might not be strictly regionally accurate, but it adds a little spice. Vegas itself has zero appeal for me personally, except as a sort of human ant-farm to study. But the underlying tales like this have some meat to them, and entertainment value. There was an era of titans, of a sort.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Bad narration but good subject

The subject matter was well researched and flowed well, the person narrating the story needs to do some research as well. Specifically how to pronounce Nevada, he pronounced it Navahda and Ely Nevada. It's eee-lee not Ellie.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

It was okay

It was okay. Nothing new to the story of Las Vegas. Narrator sometimes spoke too quickly. I wished there had been more of a pause between chapters . The narrator also mispronounced a few words - "peritonitis" for example. I purchased the book to get a complete mob history of Las Vegas - and that's what I got - so overall it was okay.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

What would have made Vegas and the Mob better?

The readers mispronunciations are annoying, the writing lacks depth, and is regret making this purchase.

Has Vegas and the Mob turned you off from other books in this genre?

I'm interested in this genre, but will be very careful before making future purchases.

Would you be willing to try another one of Jason Sullivan’s performances?

No