The mob is thought of as being aggressive drug barons who carry out racketeering and assassinations in the interests of money and power, and perhaps that’s true, who knows? However, they weren’t always known for such things; in fact, way back when, the mob were linked with the Vegas casino scene. In fact, many credit them with founding the Vegas we know and love today. Here are the top 5 books we recommend you read about casino mobsters.
30 Illegal Years to the Strip – Bill Friedman
This 2015 book looks at the real-life founding of the Vegas strip, and how mobsters like Al Capone, Frank Costello, and Ben Siegel created their own slice of paradise. Bill Friedman’s book explores the three decades it took these gangsters to build a gambling utopia where they could profit from the results. But it starts with Prohibition and covers how and why the mob went the casino route, and who the major players were. This is a riveting and captivating read and one we certainly recommend you pick up.
Casino – Nicholas Pileggi
Often considered the Godfather of casino mobster fiction, Nicholas Pileggi’s unflinching look at the seedy underbelly of the Vegas mob is a harrowing read. If you’ve seen the movie it’s based on, with Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci, you’ll know what we mean. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale, and also shows exactly how the mob bit off more than they could chew when it came to the Vegas casinos. Though it’s a fictional novel many claim the book to have a lot of factual information in it.
The Rise and Fall of a Casino Mobster – Dennis N. Griffin & Frank Cullotta
If you’ve not heard of this book before, we suggest you get it for your Kindle as soon as possible. The book is an account of the rise, fall, and eventual death of casino mobster Tony Spilotro, who built the mob’s casino empire. The book is written by author Dennis N. Griffin, and Spilotro’s close friend Frank Cullotta. It’s an interesting and in-depth looks at the life of a mob boss, and how the quest for power and wealth led to the downfall of one of the most famous mobsters ever.
Sun, Sin & Suburbia: The History of Modern Las Vegas – Geoff Schumacher
A riveting look at the eras that shaped Sin City, and the thriving casino hotspot we all know today. In darker times, the mob ruled everything, and this was a stomping ground for numerous casino mobsters. The book looks back at the history of Vegas and its links to organised crime. But, the other interesting thing is that it gives us a balance looking at what Vegas is like now, and how the city has coped with economic and social changes.
Mr. Capone: The Real and Completed Story of Al Capone – Robert J. Schoenberg
Autobiographies are always more interesting than biographies. However, when it comes to casino mobsters, it’s pretty difficult to expect an autobiography when most of them are dead. Luckily, we have authors like Robert J. Schoenberg who can give us great biographies like this one on Al Capone. Here Schoenberg details Capone’s early years and how he got his break in the mob. It also explores his run-ins with the law and his eventual demise. It’s a fascinating portrayal of perhaps the world’s most famous gangster.