Sin City Gangsters: The Rise and Decline of the Mob in Las Vegas is a fast-paced account of how the mob created and controlled Las Vegas. It contains accounts of how the most powerful mobsters in the country built, bought, and controlled not only gambling casinos in Vegas, but also many important politicians, who did the mob’s bidding. Some of the more notorious mobsters were Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Moe Dalitz, Sam Giancana, Tony Accardo, and Nick Civella, as well as the men they chose to carry out their plans, such as Tony Spilotro, Lefty Rosenthal, and Donald Angelini. Sin City Gangsters devotes a chapter to Jimmy Hoffa, and how the Teamsters Pension Fund financed the mob’s casinos. The book also offers fascinating accounts of the roles of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley in Vegas. Another chapter is devoted to Howard Hughes, who arrived in the dead of night in a sealed, germ-free railroad car and did not leave his suite at the Desert Inn for years. During that time he bought one casino after another as if playing Monopoly. Following his exit and that of the mob, Vegas became the domain of Jay Sarno, Kirk Kerkorian, Steve Wynn, and Sheldon Adelson. They were visionaries who transformed Vegas into the entertainment capital of the world by building billion-dollars-plus resorts and hiring the most popular contemporary entertainers. Sin City Gangsters is the only book that charts Vegas from the first modest mob-owned casinos to the present billion-dollar-resorts; its cast of characters is an assembly of exceedingly ambitious risk takers who let nothing stand in their way of turning their dreams into stunning realities.
Jeffrey Sussman is the author of 16 books, six of which have been published by Rowman and Littlefield. His most recent titles include Big Apple Gangsters:The Rise and Decline of the Mob in New York (2022), Holocaust Fighters: Boxers, Resisters, and Avengers (2021) and Boxing and the Mob: The Notorious History of the Sweet Science (2019). Jeffrey lives in New York City.
Chapter 1. Don’t Ever Call Him Bugsy
Chapter 2. Moe Sedway and Gus Greenbaum
Chapter 3.Meyer Lansky: Godfather of the Skim
Chapter 4. Moe Dalitz: Mr. Las Vegas
Chapter 5. Jimmy Hoffa: Las Vegas Financier
Chapter 6. The Man Who Bought Las Vegas
Chapter7.The Entertainment Capital of the World
Chapter 8.The Ant, Lefty, & Genius
Chapter 9. The Outfit Crapped Out
Chapter 10. New Faces of Vegas: Sarno, Kerkorian, Wynn, and Adelson
Extensively researched, including Sussman’s own interviews and experiences with mobsters and insiders, Sin City Gangsters not only presents all the grimy details of how the mob took hold of the Vegas infrastructure but also how that grip gave way to the mega casinos and their high-flying moguls that run the town today. Chapters on bold-faced names like Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra, and Jimmy Hoffa are especially compelling, but the salacious stories of lesser-known figures like Moe Sedway are just as provocative. Fans of Sussman’s previous city-focused histories will welcome this outing, but even those without mob connections will be implicated in enjoying this book.
Sin City Gangsters profiles the various men who aided in molding Las Vegas into what it is today. Jeffrey Sussman (who also wrote Big Apple Gangsters) relates some colorful anecdotes in describing how his interest in writing about Las Vegas was piqued. The city where fortunes are made or squandered looms large on the paths of the men highlighted in this book, whether they be Benjamin Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Howard Hughes, or Steve Wynn. Sussman’s exemplary chronology of Las Vegas brings the rise and fall of organized crime full circle. The evolution of Las Vegas from its mob-dominated past to a junk bond-backed glittery spectacle marketed as a “family town” proves readable in every sense. Sussman doesn’t lionize his subjects, but never discounts their impact on the desert paradise.
Fascinating! It’s all here! I learned a lot.
Sin City Gangsters presents the most factual and penetrating exposure of the relationships, dealings, and assassinations amongst the highest ranking members of organized crime. It is an exceptional book.
Jeffrey Sussman’s research and attention to detail make this book the go-to source on the infamous relationship between the Mob and Las Vegas. The chapter on Sinatra alone makes it worth the cost of admission into the seamy yet enticing underbelly of Las Vegas.
With the publication of Sin City Gangsters, Jeffrey Sussman has proven himself to be one of the top mob historians in the country. The book is fascinating, his research is impeccable, and he presents the historical information in an entertaining way, somewhat like a novelist. I look forward to more mob books from Jeffrey Sussman.
Jeffrey Sussman takes readers on a fast-paced and fascinating journey down the dark road of Las Vegas’ casino history, from mobsters to moguls.
1/12/23, WLIW-FM (Southampton, NY): Jeffrey Sussman discussed his new book on the Heart of the East End show.
1/18/23, Vegas Never Sleeps Podcast: Steven Maggi interviewed Jeffrey Sussman about the book.