Black Friday Book Signings
There are several book signings happening in the Museum’s retail store the day after Thanksgiving. Be sure to stop by to pick up a new read, meet the author and get your book signed.
Brian Rouff – The House Always Wins
10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
A Vegas Kind of Ghost
Anna Christiansen’s small-town life is about to go haywire. A young reporter stuck in a dead-end job, Anna falls head over heels for an interview subject, the bass player in an up-and-coming alt band. In short order, she pulls up stakes, moves to Las Vegas, gets married and pregnant, and buys a big fixer-upper haunted by the ghost of a Sin City racketeer. But not so fast, a corrupt casino owner plans on buying up all the properties on her street to build a parking lot. Can Anna’s strong and masculine ghost assist somehow to prevail?
The House Always Wins, Brian Rouff’s third Las Vegas novel, firmly establishes him as one of the keenest observers of life in Sin City.
David Schwartz – Grandissimo: The First Emperor of Las Vegas
12 to 2 p.m.
Jay Sarno built two path-breaking Las Vegas casinos, Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and planned but did not build a third, the Grandissimo, which would have started the mega-resort era a decade before Steve Wynn built The Mirage. As mobsters and accountants battled for the soul of the last American frontier town, Las Vegas had endless possibilities–if you didn’t mind high stakes and stiff odds. Sarno invented the modern Las Vegas casino, but he was part of a dying breed–a back-pocket entrepreneur who’d parlayed a jones for action and a few Teamster loans into a life as a Vegas casino owner.
For all of his accomplishments, his empire didn’t last. Sarno sold out of Caesars Palace shortly after it opened–partially to get away from the bookies and gangsters who’d taken over the casino–and he was forced to relinquish control of Circus Circus when the federal government indicted him on charges of offering the largest bribe in IRS history–a bribe he freely admitted paying, on the advice of his attorney, Oscar Goodman. Though he ultimately walked out of court a free man, he never got Circus back. And though he guessed the formula that would open up Las Vegas to millions in the 1990s with the design of the Grandissimo, but he wasn’t able to secure the financing for the casino, and when he died in 1984, it remained only a frustrating dream.
David Schwartz – Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling
A narrative chronicle traces gambling’s early emergence from divination rituals through its modern incarnation as a global and cultural diversion, in an account that documents such topics as the practice of casting lots, the invention of playing cards in twelfth-century China, and the role of organized crime in illegal gambling operations.
Jeff Burbank – Lost Las Vegas
2 to 4 p.m.
Las Vegas Babylon- What happens in Vegas doesn’t necessarily stay in Vegas and the proof is in this lively and entertaining compilation of stories chronicling decades of decadence, celebrity shenanigans, and political corruption, as well as the glitz and glamour of the casinos that pass for everyday life in Las Vegas.
Underneath the city’s present success lies many infamous tales of excess and debauchery. Using new information from recently released FBI documents, Jeff Burbank brings to life the Vegas mob in its heyday, recounting never-before-heard tales of the mobsters who made Vegas what it is today.
Scott Decker – Recounting the Anthrax Attacks: Terror, the Amerithrax Task Force, and the Evolution of Forensics in the FBI
4 to 6 p.m.
It was September 18, 2001, just seven days after al-Qaeda hijackers destroyed the Twin Towers. In the early morning darkness, a lone figure dropped several letters into a mailbox. Seventeen days later a Florida journalist died of inhalational anthrax. The death from the rare disease made world news. These anthrax attacks marked the first time a sophisticated biological weapon was released in the United States. It killed five people, disfigured at least 18 more, and launched the largest investigation in the FBI’s history.
Scott Decker who was part of the Amerithrax Task Force, provides the first inside look at how the investigation was conducted, highlighting dramatic turning points as the case progressed until its final solution. Join FBI agents as they race against terror and the ultimate insider threat—a decorated government scientist releasing powders of deadly anthrax. Walk in the steps of these dedicated officers while they pursue numerous forensic leads before more letters can be sent until finally they confront a psychotic killer.