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Women at Work in Las Vegas, 1940-1990
The growth of Las Vegas that began in the 1940s brought an influx of both women and men looking to work in the expanding hotel and casino industries. In fact, for the next fifty years the proportion of women in the labor force was greater in Las Vegas than the United States as a whole. Joanne L. Goodwin’s study captures the shifting boundaries of women’s employment in the postwar decades with narratives drawn from the Las Vegas Women Oral History Project. It counters clichéd pictures of women at work in the famed resort city as it explores women’s real strategies for economic survival and success. Their experiences anticipated major trends in post\-World War II labor history: the national migration of workers during and after the war, the growing proportion of women in the labor force, balancing work with family life, the unionization of service workers, and, above all, the desegregation of the labor force by sex and race. These narratives show women in Las Vegas resisting preassigned roles, seeing their work as a testimony of skill, a measure of independence, and a fulfillment of needs. Overall, these stories of women who lived and worked in Las Vegas in the last half of the twentieth century reveal much about the broader transitions for women in America between 1940 and 1990.
Italian Immigrants in Eureka, Nevada, and the Fish Creek Massacre
The delightful and touching stories in Christmas in Nevada tell how Nevadans have celebrated the holiday, from 1858 to the present day. Some are told by well-known Nevadans, such as Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Robert Laxalt, and former governors Bob List and Richard Bryan, but much more of the book shows ordinary Nevadans celebrating in diverse ways the wonders of the season. The range of the state’s ethnic and immigrant heritage is showcased by stories of Basque, Mexican American, Native American, and African American celebrations, along with traditions of Italian, German, Danish, and Serbian origin. Some of the more unusual accounts include the story of three miners trapped underground for forty-five days during the Christmas season, Tonopah’s “Nevergreen” tree, and Reno’s Santa Pub Crawl with thousands of costumed revelers. Through extensive research and personal interviews, Patricia D. Cafferata has created a heartwarming collection of stories, guaranteed to be treasured. Whether Santa arrives on a sleigh in a mining camp in Silver Peak, Esmeralda County, or a zip line down Fremont Street, Las Vegas, Christmas in Nevada brings warm memories, excitement, and good cheer.
A Basque Shepherding Community
Ott provides an excellent ethnography of a French Basque agrarian and sheepherding community. The commune of Sainte-Engrâce extends along a mountain valley in the southeastern corner of Soule, one of the three Basque provences in France. In The Circle of Mountains, Sandra Ott examines the importance of cooperation and reciprocity as the essential basis for the main institutions within this community. These French Basques visualize their community as a circle, and their vision of living in "the circle of mountians," rather than in a valley, reflects their perspective on the society in which they live. The first half of the book incorporates material on history, ecology and economy, and delves deeply into the domestic organization, kinship, and neighborliness of this Basque community. In the second half of the book, the author introduces the males' customary roles as shepherds and cheesemakers. Following a detailed commentary on these vocations, Ott suggests that these seemingly prosaic activities represent the male attempt at symbolic fulfillment of the female procreative and nurturing roles. In a new afterword, Ott discusses developments that have impacted life in the pastoral community of Sainte-Engrâce since the original publication of the book—including the acquisition of telephones and the construction of roads to nearly every home.The Circle of Mountains will be of interest not only to social anthropologists but also to those concerned with the Basque language and culture and to scholars and students of ethnology, international studies, and political science.