Unreal City: Las Vegas, Black Mesa, and the Fate of the West

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Product Details
Bold Type Books
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.3 X 1.3 inches | 1.2 pounds

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About the Author
Judith Nies is the award-winning author of three nonfiction books -- The Girl I Left Behind: A Personal History of the 1960s, Nine Women: Portraits from the American Radical Tradition, and Native American History: A Chronology, which won the Phi Alpha Theta prize in international history. Nies's journalism, book reviews, and essays have appeared in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, Orion, Harvard Review, Women's Review of Books, and American Voice. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"In this cautionary tale of money and power, Judith Nies has created a heart-wrenching account of the exploited American West--its resources and its people. Unreal City exposes the strange bedfellows and revolving doors that fuel crony capitalism. At the heart of it all is the public-private plunder that has sadly become the nation's new normal, and the tragic toll it takes on everything in its path. Unsettlingly reminiscent of Polanski's Chinatown, it is a brave undertaking." --Sally Denton, investigative reporter, historian, and author of The Money and the Power: The Making of Las Vegas and Its Hold on America

"This book is blood-boilingly splendid. Meticulously reported and shocking in detail, Unreal City brilliantly dissolves the fraudulently spun myths of the American West to reveal a grim, heartbreaking progression of despoliation, waste, corruption, and betrayal of native peoples. This is the reality behind the insatiable Western Sunbelt and that desert chimera, Las Vegas. Throughout, Judith Nies brings scorching, revelatory light to the biggest undertold issue in America, the destruction of the West by unchained greed." --Katherine A. Powers, recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing
An Amazon.com Best Book of the Year

Nies' great triumph is to emphatically bring the 'bloody nuisance' of the story behind the growth of the West to the public eye. Her book is essential reading for those seeking to understand the largely hidden history and the forgotten deals and injustices that keep Las Vegas and Los Angeles glimmering. --Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

Judith Nies' history of the region and brutal political maneuvering that helped facilitate the rise of Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles is thoroughly engaging and at times heartbreaking... this is the real American hustle."--Las Vegas Review-Journals

"A hard-hitting chronicle of the hidden history behind the creation of Las Vegas... An important, multifaceted page-turner." --Kirkus Reviews

If you're headed to Las Vegas for vacation, pack this book along. In between visits to the giant pyramids and faux Manhattans, read it to get a real understanding of exactly how fragile this mirage is. --Bill McKibben, author Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape