American West and Environment

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Playing the Odds: Las Vegas and the Modern West

Hal Rothman
Edited by Lincoln Bramwell

"This collection of Hal Rothman's wide-ranging, brash, and brilliant essays on Las Vegas offers up a treasury of insights on the follies and possibilities of the New West. Confident, passionate, learned and, yes, wise, Rothman is simply one of the most important voices writing on the region today. He is also a hell of a lot of fun to read." - Virginia Scharff, professor of history and Director, Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and Women of the West chair at the Institute for the Study of the American West, Autry National Center, Los Angeles
"Hal Rothman has been enlightening me, irritating me, surprising me, and making me laugh for twenty years. Reading his columns reminds me why. He has long been one of the brashest, loudest, smartest, and most original voices in the West. Not even ALS could quiet him. These columns aren't the same as talking to him, but they come close." - Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Stanford University

"Hal Rothman is both the greatest Western historian of his generation and an H. L. Mencken in cowboy boots. Here is a magnificent collection of his opinion, wit, and wisdom." - Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums and Buda's Wagon


William deBuys is professor of documentary studies, College of Santa Fe, and the author of numerous books on the West.

Hal K. Rothman (1958-2007) was professor of history, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and a leading historian of the American West.

Lincoln Bramwell received his Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico.


"...a highly readable collection.... Playing the Odds is valuable for understanding the West at the dawn of the (twenty-first) century."


Western Historical Quarterly

"... Playing the Odds does not, and could not, summarize Rothman's prodigious career, but in its passion, it offers a fitting coda to his life's composition."


Technology and Culture

( Playing the Odds is) a necessary book for anyone interested in more than a cursory, cliché-ridden understanding of Las Vegas."


Las Vegas CityLife

"...( Playing the Odds) combines intriguing data with Rothman's own characteristically aggressive analysis, allowing the reader to delve into the mind of one of this generation's leading Western historians and his apt social, political, and economic analysis of America's New West."


Utah Historical Quarterly

" Playing the Odds is about courage and risk taking, about a lone voice charting the dangerous territory of human values, and betting on an outcome that hopefully will move humanity forward."


H-Net Book Review

" Playing the Odds is classic Hal Rothman. It is not to be missed."


New Mexico Historical Review

6 x 9 in. 288 pages 5 halftones