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Everyday Las Vegas

Local Life in a Tourist Town

Rex Rowley

Publication Year: 2013

Every year, more than thirty-five million people from all over the world visit Las Vegas; only two million call the city home. Everyday Las Vegas takes a close look at the lives of those who live in a place the rest of the world considers exotic, even decadent. Using broad research, including interviews with more than one hundred Las Vegans, Rex Rowley—who grew up in Las Vegas—examines everyday life in a place that markets itself as an escape from mundane reality.

Published by: University of Nevada Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-viii


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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. xiii-xviii

...This book is about my city. Although I grew up in Las Vegas, it was only much later that I realized what a unique place it is. When I tell someone where I am from, I often encounter weird looks, puzzled reactions, and surprised excitement. I have come to enjoy such moments, as they reinforce the connection I feel to a city perceived as exotic and strange to people across the country and around the globe. Being from a unique place gives...

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pp. 1-14

...Las Vegas is one of the world’s most recognizable cities. People all over the world seem to have some notion of what this place is like. Frank Simon, a longtime Las Vegan, told of his visit deep into the “outback of the Outback” in Australia. He and a friend went into a hotel where he wrote down his address at check-in. The woman behind the desk asked him repeatedly...

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One Hundred Years of Opportunity,Luck, and Rapid Change

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pp. 15-36

...History is easy to see in Las Vegas. Within an hour or so drive of downtown, one can hike on ancient volcanic formations, view sedimentary rocks that once formed the beds of Pleistocene lakes, photograph forests of bristlecone pines (one of the planet’s oldest living things), see Native American petroglyphs, visit ghost towns and remnants of once-thriving mining communities, and observe ranchers practicing the centuries-old methods...

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A Place in the Desert

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pp. 37-54

...Driving south on Interstate 15, five hours from Salt Lake City, a family finds themselves in a barren desert at dusk. Craggy mountains, copper colored in the sunset, surround a valley covered by flesh-colored sand and speckled by sagebrush, Joshua trees, and yucca. They pass signs of civilization— lights from an Indian reservation fireworks stand, a gypsum plant, and...

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Watch ’Em Come, See ’Em Go

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pp. 55-81

...In 1872 a huge gold vein was discovered in the Snake Range of central Nevada near the Utah border. The resulting mining town of Osceola reflected the experience of many of its Nevada siblings: it boomed, attracted thousands of treasure seekers, produced millions in wealth, and then busted. All that remains in Osceola is a memory preserved in ruins, the occasional rancher keeping watch on sheep or cattle that roam the surrounding slopes, and a...

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Getting Along with Growth

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pp. 82-107

...casino-resort. Although this was a significant event at a time when racism was rampant, more significant for today’s Las Vegas is the caption just above the dancers: “Las Vegas—Is Boom Overextended?” The article inside depicted escalation in resort construction and questioned the sustainability of such rapid growth....

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Stuck in the Fast Lane

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pp. 108-130

...State Route 160 in the southwestern Las Vegas Valley is one of the most dangerous roads in the city. When Maria Guadalupe Martinez’s car veered into oncoming traffic on the two-lane road in 2006 near the intersection at Arville Street and Martinez was killed in a head-on collision, it marked the eighteenth fatality on that highway in less than eight months. This number got the attention of state and local officials. The Nevada Highway Patrol...

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Locals in a Tourist City

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pp. 131-158

...I had to look twice the first time I saw it. Every so often a youth leader will wear his Boy Scouts of America uniform to church to show support for an upcoming event or commemoration; that much was not unusual. What surprised me on this Sunday was the council patch on the sleeve of one particular gentleman. Growing up in Southern Nevada, I was a part of the Boulder Dam Area...

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Life in a Town of Glitter and Gold

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pp. 159-187

...I often travel by air from my current midwestern home to Las Vegas for a weekend visit. Unlike many of my fellow passengers, my intentions are family- or, more recently, research-oriented. But sitting on a flight inbound to McCarran Airport on a Friday, I always sense the energy of the mostly tourist group. It all starts near the gates prior to boarding the flight. A group of four middle-aged men, for example, joke and discuss the fun they anticipate while celebrating a fortieth birthday in Sin City without the distractions...

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Religion in Sin City

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pp. 188-208

...Religion may be the last thing that comes to mind when people think about Las Vegas. Jud Wilhite, a pastor at a large local nondenominational church, recalled his attempt to convince a Virginia woman that churches actually do exist in the city. After he told her what he does for a living, she replied confidently: “No, you aren’t. There are...

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Las Vegas Becoming

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pp. 209-220

...Entering the second decade of the twenty-first century, Las Vegas stands at the brink. This is nothing new for the city that molds itself into whatever attracts the most visitors. Because of such a huge reliance on tourism, however, the city’s economy has suffered disproportionately in the Great Recession. The slumping economy only amplified huge questions locals...


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pp. 221-234


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pp. 235-244


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pp. 245-254

E-ISBN-13: 9780874179064
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874179057

Page Count: 272
Illustrations: 20 photos, 6 maps
Publication Year: 2013

OCLC Number: 864757433
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Everyday Las Vegas

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Las Vegas (Nev.) -- Description and travel.
  • Las Vegas (Nev.) -- Social conditions -- 21st century.
  • Las Vegas (Nev.) -- Social life and customs -- 21st century.
  • Working class -- Nevada -- Las Vegas -- Social life and customs.
  • Tourism -- Social aspects -- Nevada -- Las Vegas.
  • Working class -- Nevada -- Las Vegas -- Interviews.
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