The Last Honest Place in America

The Last Honest Place in America

Paradise and Perdition in the New Las Vegas

Book - 2003
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Baker & Taylor
The author delves deeply into the latest incarnation of "sin city," charting the death of the old Vegas under the watchful eye of the detonators who blew up the old casinos and the re-emergence of the new glass pyramid, Disney-like Vegas.

Perseus Publishing
Las Vegas America begins with the dynamiting of the Desert Inn in October 2001, the moment when old Vegas "cool" died and the new corporate model claimed definitive victory. From this moment, Cooper takes us on a journey from the top of the Luxor Hotel's glass pyramid, down "the Strip," past the golden glow of the Mirage into the town's black ghetto. Along the way, the best-selling author introduces us to a cast of characters including casino king Steve Wynn and Tim Thuller, leader of the Vagabound Motorcycle Club. He explores life among Vegas's 75,000 union families and considers how outlaws and iconoclasts are adapting to life in the new corporate city. Finally Cooper strays beyond the Strip into a desolate landscape characterized by pawnshops, destitution, crime, and impending environmental crisis. "For me," writes Cooper, "Las Vegas is the last, most honest place in America. Vegas is often described as a city of dreams and fantasy, of tinselish make-believe. But this is getting backwards. Vegas is the American market ethic stripped completely bare, a mini-world totally free of the pretenses and protocols of modern consumer capitalism. Watching it operate with barely any mediation generates nothing short of an intellectual frisson."

Las Vegas America begins with the dynamiting of the Desert Inn in October 2001, the moment when old Vegas ?cool” died and the new corporate model claimed definitive victory. From this moment, Cooper takes us on a journey from the top of the Luxor Hotel’s glass pyramid, down ?the Strip,” past the golden glow of the Mirage into the town’s black ghetto. Along the way, the best-selling author introduces us to a cast of characters including casino king Steve Wynn and Tim Thuller, leader of the Vagabound Motorcycle Club. He explores life among Vegas’s 75,000 union families and considers how outlaws and iconoclasts are adapting to life in the new corporate city. Finally Cooper strays beyond the Strip into a desolate landscape characterized by pawnshops, destitution, crime, and impending environmental crisis. ?For me,” writes Cooper, ?Las Vegas is the last, most honest place in America. Vegas is often described as a city of dreams and fantasy, of tinselish make-believe. But this is getting backwards. Vegas is the American market ethic stripped completely bare, a mini-world totally free of the pretenses and protocols of modern consumer capitalism. Watching it operate with barely any mediation generates nothing short of an intellectual frisson.”


Blackwell North Amer
The Last Honest Place in America is Marc Cooper's attempt to explore the pull Las Vegas exercises over him, and perhaps, the other tens of millions who increasingly stream into its casinos, clubs, and resorts.
Cooper's journey begins in October 2001 with the dynamiting of the Desert Inn, the moment when old Vegas "cool" died and the new corporate model claimed definitive victory. And then from late 2002 into the summer of 2003, he spent longer and more frequent stretches of time in Vegas, sometimes weeks at a time, moving from one hotel to another, from the glitzy Strip to the frayed downtown, indulging his lifelong love of blackjack, hanging out with mormons, mobsters, MBAs, born-again virgins, strippers, lap dancer union organizers, gambling addicts, priests, and Vegas's colorful and controversial mayor.
As Cooper got deeper into the research, it became ever more difficult for him to separate the work from the rest of his life. Vegas is purposefully constructed as a self-enclosed and isolated bubble environment; its timelessness and placelessness often consumed him, rendering it difficult to distinguish if his project was at its beginning or end. Was he, in fact, working or just playing blackjack, researching or just staying up all night because he was afraid to sleep?

Publisher: New York : Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books ; [Emeryville, Calif.] : Distributed by Publishers Group West, 2003
ISBN: 9781560254904
1560254904
Characteristics: 248p. : ill

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MisterWhiskers
Oct 23, 2016

I stumbled onto this book while prepping for my 1st ever visit to Vegas. What we have here is an outstanding piece of 1st person journalism, story telling and ground level interviews with long time "core" Vegas denizens from a long time Vegas expert. The narrative is colorful, imaginative and thought provoking. I cannot over state how much I enjoyed this sage piece of story telling and biting social commentary about Vegas and indeed our nation as a whole.

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