Las Vegas: The Story Behind the Scenery

Las Vegas: The Story Behind the Scenery

First published in 1995, this is a slender book of essays and photographs playfully tells the story of the birth and growth of Las Vegas.

Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn

Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn

This unauthorized investigative biography of casino mogul Steve Wynn details his rise to power in a Las Vegas making a painful transition from mob-connected casino town to corporate mega-resort destination city. Wynn sued unsuccessfully to prevent its publication.

 
No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower

No Limit: The Rise and Fall of Bob Stupak and Las Vegas’ Stratosphere Tower

Bob Stupak was without question one of the wildest casino men in Las Vegas history. He risked everything to see his dream of creating the tallest tower West of the Mississippi come to fruition.

 
The Animal in Hollywood: Anthony Fiato’s Life in the Mafia

The Animal in Hollywood: Anthony Fiato’s Life in the Mafia

Anthony Fiato spent his early life on the street of Boston and Hollywood as an enforcer for gangsters ranging from J.R. Russo to Mike Rizzitello. When he decided to cooperate with the FBI, the result was the conviction of dozens of mobsters on both coasts.

 
Moving to Las Vegas

Moving to Las Vegas

Perhaps as much as anything, this book is a reminder of just how hot the Las Vegas market was in the early part of the century. It combines a thumbnail history of Southern Nevada with chapters on everything from local politics to tips on navigating the local public school system. The first edition was written with Teresa Mataga, the second with Patricia Smith. 

 
On the Boulevard: The Best of John L. Smith

On the Boulevard: The Best of John L. Smith

This collection compiles 125 of pieces from the Las Vegas Review-Journal culled from the early part of my time working as a daily Metro columnist.

 
Quicksilver: The Ted Binion Murder Trial

Quicksilver: The Ted Binion Murder Trial

The death of troubled casino man Ted Binion provided a real-life Las Vegas mystery and propelled several intriguing characters into the media spotlight. This is a short version of the first trial, with photos by Jeff Scheid of the Review-Journal.

 
Of Rats and Men: Oscar Goodman’s Life from Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas

Of Rats and Men: Oscar Goodman’s Life from Mob Lawyer to Mayor of Las Vegas

In one incredible life, Oscar Goodman went from Philadelphia-born mob attorney to three-term Mayor of Las Vegas. The paperback version of this biography adds new material to Goodman’s evolving story.

 
Bluegrass Days and Neon Nights

Bluegrass Days and Neon Nights

High-rolling casino Dan Chandler was hands-down one of the most colorful characters in Las Vegas history. This biography brings together many of Dan’s favorite stories about his time at Caesars Palace and other casinos as well as his upbringing as the wayward son of Kentucky Gov. and Major League Baseball Commission Albert “Happy” Chandler.

 
Sharks in the Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of Las Vegas

Sharks in the Desert: The Founding Fathers and Current Kings of Las Vegas

This book brings together chapter biographies of the greatest casino and mob characters in Las Vegas history. From Moe Dalitz to Sheldon Adelson, they’re all here. Adelson, the right-wing billionaire, sued unsuccessfully to stop this book from shedding light on his rise to power.

 
Amelia’s Long Journey: Stories of a Brave Girl’s Fight Against Cancer

Amelia’s Long Journey: Stories of a Brave Girl’s Fight Against Cancer

In 2004, my daughter Amelia was diagnosed with brain cancer. Our family spent several years fighting to keep her alive. This book brings together some of the columns I wrote about her life before, during, and after her cancer ordeal.

 
Vegas Voices

Vegas Voices

Las Vegas life is riddled with remarkably interesting characters. Some are well known, but some of the most intriguing have spent their lives outside the public eye. This is a collection of their stories told in their own distinctive voices. With photos by Jim Laurie. Published in the Spring of 2014. It is available for $22.95 through NevadaSmith Press at HCR 38 Box 330 Las Vegas Nevada, 89124

 
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Even a Street Dog is a collection of short fiction set in a Las Vegas visitors seldom experience, but locals will immediately recognize.