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The town was simpler then. No stop lights on L V Blvd, ah, the good old days how I miss them, and nothing much beyond Tropicana.
This is the Las Vegas when the mob was there and the police were none too polite if you showed a shady side. To this day public employees are fingerprinted.
After seeing the movie my sister remarked, "The book wasn't that violent, was it? It takes this book to give you the real names, actions an If you saw the movie based on this book it is a must read.
It takes this book to give you the real names, actions and outcomes in clinical and fascinating detail.
You will notice where film and fact deviate. Pileggi interviewed the few "surviving" participants and came up with a compelling book.
Geri McGee, "Lefty" Rosenthal's wife was a dittzy bimbo who slept around, and he loved her to distraction. Tony Spilatro and his brother did end-up face down in a cornfield.
What we think of cliche sometimes comes out to be the real thing Sep 17, Johnny Moscato rated it it was ok. After reading and loving Wiseguy, Casino was a huge disappointment.
The movie was a million times better. I'm not even sure how the movie is based on this book. Even setting the movie aside the book is boring and overflowing with names.
The only way to keep all the names straight would be to write them all down to reference as you read. The writing skips from one person's perspective to another's so quickly and often that it's confusing and you have to keep going back to figure out who's being After reading and loving Wiseguy, Casino was a huge disappointment.
The writing skips from one person's perspective to another's so quickly and often that it's confusing and you have to keep going back to figure out who's being quoted.
Content-wise, the book is boring. There's only two stories- bad guys beating their women and stealing from casinos- repeated over and over and over.
Every time you think the story is building to something interesting, it just turns out to be the same old junk. Save yourself the time- watch the movie, pass on the book.
In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust. If you have seen the movie Casino, you know the general story but the names and many facts were changed.
Pileggi does not let his writing get in the way of a good story. The book is made up primarily of interviews and long stretches of story-telling by "Lefty" Rosenthal himself, various mob informants, and an assortment of federal and state law enforcement agents.
Although th In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust.
Although the last chapter is somewhat in need of an update Las Vegas has reinvented itself numerous times since the end of the mob and the "high roller" culture , it was a nice coda.
What an insane book! It's crazy thinking how the Mafia was operating there. Made me think a lot about Vegas Anyone wanting to know some Mafia history about Vegas would find this book a must read.
This is one of those times when I'm not sure which is better-the book or the movie because they are both sensational. Nov 11, Martin Imaani rated it it was amazing.
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Too dry and force. The mob would not approve. Jul 25, Clem rated it it was ok Shelves: non-fiction. Like most people, I probably would not have read this book had I not seen the wonderful Martin Scorsese movie of the same name.
I thought it was poorly written and am quite surprised how Scorsese managed to take something like this and turn it into such a beautiful piece of cinematic art.
That says a lot of a film director. S Like most people, I probably would not have read this book had I not seen the wonderful Martin Scorsese movie of the same name.
Scorsese takes a lot of liberty with the script and, for whatever reason, he changes all the names of the real people.
Speaking of character names, this is by far the biggest weakness of this entire book. For whatever reason, author Pileggi feels obligated to name every single minor character in the book.
Also in the car was Mark Dillon who John knew since high school. After a while, your brain starts to automatically tune out these superfluous names as soon as you come across them.
This was a big, big hindrance for me. This book seems more of anecdotal recollection of many of the mob personalities that are closely related to the key players.
Again, the movie tended to do this, but when you have a master like Martin Scorsese, he can take all of this jumbled information and still tell a decent story while making sense out of all of muddled stories and episodes that are randomly thrown at us.
Other times, the author includes things such as entire transcripts of police reports, entire court transcriptions, and entire news stories verbatim.
Yet right in the middle of this drama, Pileggi haphazardly includes the arrest report and it seems to throw the drama off too much. I think that the approach that the author should have taken would have been to not include so many verbatim interviews that he conducted with related individuals, and instead try to incorporate the stories into an easy flowing narrative.
He should have then maybe included an appendix with this multitude of individuals instead of flooding his readers with this information throughout the story.
I must confess that as I write this review, the vast majority of other reviewers on Amazon have given this book a very high rating.
Oh well, it did lead to a great movie. From my book blog www. Pileggi co-wrote the film and it won Sharon the Golden Globe. A terrific movie, but there is even more dirt in this true account of Mafia involvement in 's Las Vegas casinos.
After some backstory on Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal and Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro growing up in Chicago, the Mob installs Rosenthal in the Stardust and other Vegas casinos to protect and increase the 'skim' operations.
Everyone from the dealers and floor bosses to the count room to casino wide operations worked the skim - slipping wads of cash into their pockets.
Reservations would delete rooms paid by cash, gardeners would sell the same palm multiple times without buying a tree, blackjack dealers would pocket chips and the metal safe boxes would be cleaned out before arriving at the secured count room.
As long as the Chicago bosses got the main cut no one made waves. Backed by Teamsters Pension Funds and a Gaming Board approved front man as the face of the casino, Rosenthal ran the operation sharp and hands-on while there was a hiatus in law enforcement.
Tony Spilotro was a low level mobster into local burglaries and loan sharking who moved in and believed he ran the town through intimidation - whether he had any real power was mute if he wanted you killed.
Although they grew up together, Rosenthal resented being attached to Tony. It was bad for business. Geri was a gorgeous showgirl and hooker who enamoured Rosenthal and they began a tortuous marriage of fighting and reuniting.
Despite the millions in cash and jewelry, Geri had addiction problems that would eventually tear them apart.
Her affair with Tony did not help. We were given paradise on earth, but we fucked it all up. The ingenious ways the mob developed for skimming made everyone millionaires until their hubris imploded the works.
Covering the growth of major casinos throughout the 's, this is completely fascinating. It would be interesting to read a follow up analysis of modern Las Vegas as the junk bond corporations moved in following the mobsters - another story of fakery and money juggling, I am sure.
Casino is the kind of true crime investigation you can easily read again. Highly recommended. Pileggi's novel Wiseguy was also adapted into the Scorsese film GoodFellas.
Sep 24, Kris rated it really liked it. I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
That love affair has never ended and then the book popped up on Bookbub and I was thoroughly excited! So much so that I bought the book, watched the movie, read the book and then watched the movie again.
One main difference is that the book actually uses all the real names of the individuals. This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up pictures to match names and faces.
Of course, you can always use Pesci, DeNiro and Stone as the faces and still be ok. But in the glory days, it was organized crime, primarily out of Los Angeles and Chicago, who owned Vegas.
Lefty Rosenthal was a handicapper, bookmaker and odds man, trusted by the mob to go out to Vegas and run the Stardust and Hacienda Hotels.
The first part of the book introduces Lefty and his background as well as his best friend, Tony Spilotro, a well-known Chicago mobster. After Lefty moves out to Vegas, he meets Geri McGee aka Ginger a well-known casino hustler and escort who works the punters as they come in to Vegas.
This despite her undying love for her ex-boyfriend, baby daddy Lenny. Tony Spilotro was sent to Vegas to keep an eye on Lefty and to secure their interests in the casino.
But Tony, cut free from his leash and keepers in Chicago, became a one crew crime spree. Bringing in his own people, he did burglaries, murders, jewelry heists, armed robbery, loan sharking etc.
The town was his for the taking and he took it all — including Geri. The movie closely followed the book so it will not disappoint film fans.
In fact, it will enhance the viewing experience and make you want to watch it all again — twice!
Oct 31, Oscar Williams added it. Harry Claiborne was nominated to the federal bench in Nevada in Judge Claiborne presided over a lawsuit stemming from the Gaming Commission's closure of the Argent Corp.
Why isn't Claiborne mentioned? What he did with the Aladdin was huge and it brought negative attention on to him as a jurist, and you know what happened to Claiborne later, right?
He was impeached and thrown off the bench. The first federal judge to go to jail. And he was railroaded I thought no mention of Claiborne was a big omission on Pileggi's part.
Jan 15, Jim Holscher rated it it was amazing. Casino is the source material for the movie by the same name. It is fluid and allowed the characters to tell the story.
For those of you who have watched the movie Casino and wonder if there is anything new to glean from reading the book I would say the book offers an even better, more complete look at what happened.
Pileggi is a gifted writer. He has a way of making despicable characters interesting. The source material for the movie The Irishman was taken from a book written by the main character of the book.
He was certainly a gangster and important to the story. He was no writer. That book moves along at roughly the same pace as grandpa Joe after a huge meal and no nap.
The movie grades song at the same pace. If you watch Goodfellas and to a slightly lesser extent Casino you will see a huge difference.
If you are at all interested in the history of the mob or Las Vegas this is a must read. Really, all Scorsese did was tweak the odd situation here and there for higher cinematic impact and arrange the key events in this massive decade-long run of mob-controlled Vegas and the many, many complications that arose from such a scheme.
The movie is close to a masterpiece, although there are better crime films out there. The novel is a structural mess, though it has far more information than Scorsese could ever fit into 3.
The novel is a structural mess, though it has far more information than Scorsese could ever fit into a mere three-hour film--mainly concerning the creation and ownership of the casinos.
But that's where the problem is: it gets confusing sometimes, throwing all these names around, juggling events, mentioning things that occurred in in the middle of explaining something happening in that Pileggi I guess didn't give himself a chance to mention when he was that far back in the timeline to begin with.
Luckily whatever flaws the book has, the movie improves upon. Both are well worth looking into. May 30, Johnathon rated it really liked it.
Pileggi does a great job getting interviews and stories from his subjects, from Lefty, the FBI and various other mobsters, and let's them tell the story.
It is a story so crazy it has to be true Lefty at one point had a popular talk show where he interviewed O.
The result is an enjoyable page turner well-worth reading, but not a classic true crime novel on how the mob left Las Vegas. Dec 12, Debra Pawlak rated it really liked it.
Las Vegas is like no other city. It was started by gangsters think Bugsy Siegel and decades later, it was still being run by the Mob.
They were the kingpins--until they weren't. The book is filled with action from gruesome mob hits to exploding cars to 'professional' skimming.
It was Lefty's and Tony's job to keep the Chicago bosses happy--and they did for a good long while. Then T Las Vegas is like no other city.
I can see why--complete with colorful characters, gangland violence, and sex, the story of Las Vegas and the end of the Mob-controlled era is a doozy.
I am not leaving a star rating on this title because the audiobook version I listened to was extremely abridged, covering pages of text in three hours of audio.
It is disappointing they went with such a heavy abridgement, likely because demand for the audiobook spiked around the film's release and they wanted a version that covered only roughly what was in the film.
The included passages are worth a listen, but you really feel the abridging, as much of the story, and in particular minor char I am not leaving a star rating on this title because the audiobook version I listened to was extremely abridged, covering pages of text in three hours of audio.
The included passages are worth a listen, but you really feel the abridging, as much of the story, and in particular minor characters and logistical details, are confusing without the additional pages.
I listened to a library copy, but if you have the opportunity to look for different editions, try to find something unabridged.
Jun 26, Debbie rated it did not like it Shelves: zz , filmed , yz-audio , mystery-murder-crime , non-fiction , social-commentary , biography , history , law , economics-business-money.
Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book. The best description is that it is bare bones.
I kept wanting broader descriptions and background. Perhaps my dissatisfaction stems from my recent reading of various types of Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction titles.
For instance, Pileggi quotes Rosenthal as saying, after Jerry's passing, that lots of folks suspected him of killing her or arranging her death.
But he paid a considerable sum to have Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book.
But he paid a considerable sum to have determined her actual cause of death. That's all that was said. You hear what is missing, too, don't you.
The full book was that way. Readers also enjoyed. Media Tie In. About Nicholas Pileggi. Nicholas Pileggi. Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy , which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas , and for writing the book and screenplay Casino.
The movie versions of both were co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the film City Hall.
He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia. This is where he developed his Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy , which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas , and for writing the book and screenplay Casino.
This is where he developed his intuition to author books such as Wiseguy and Casino. He is also the author of the book Blye: Private Eye.
Books by Nicholas Pileggi. Related Articles. We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day.
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