Urban gambling, linked to poverty, crime and corruption, was once considered a blight on US cities. Gambling then followed the exodus of Americans into the suburbs after World War II and now, at the beginning of the 21st century, most Americans live within a four-hour drive of a casino. What explains the success of places like Las Vegas? The self-contained casino resort removes gambling and its social problems from cities and provides Americans with the comfort of gambling in a setting matched to their suburban lifestyle. In a detailed look at the growth of the earliest casino resorts to the "pleasure palaces" and riverboat casinos of today, "Suburban Xanadu" locates the rise of the casino resort in suburbanization and the significance of this development for today.
David G. Schwartz is the coordinator of the Gaming Studies Research Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
"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
"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 of Wynn Resorts
"Highly Recommended! Suburban Xanadu is a colorful and authoritative reading of the history of casino resort development in the United States. 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