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12/21/2003
01:11 AM
John Soat
John Soat
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Book Review: Shadow Capital

I recently attended the Comdex trade show in Las Vegas. In anticipation, I picked up "The Money And The Power: The Making Of Las Vegas And Its Hold On America" (Vintage Books, 2001). It's a history of what investigative reporters Sally Denton and Roger Morris call "the shadow capital of the United States." For Denton and Morris, Las Vegas represents the nexus of the dark side of the American dream: the collusion of organized crime, compromised government officials, and corrupt business leaders. It's all here: how mob bosses who built Las Vegas worked with federal agencies, first in controlling the docks (and the dock workers) during World War II, then in botched attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro; how the Teamsters' pension fund financed the construction of modern-day Las Vegas. So much uncontrolled cash in a democratic society, the authors say, is a dangerous combination.

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