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UNLV Libraries Author Series Presents Larry Gragg

By Michael Yunkin on February 14, 2014 3:19 PM | Permalink

In his book Bright Light City: Las Vegas in Popular Culture Larry Gragg invites readers to view Las Vegas in an entirely new way. Gragg considers how popular culture has depicted the city and its allure over its first century. He draws on hundreds of films, television programs, novels and articles and identifies changing trends in how the city is presented.

In its earliest days, Las Vegas was promoted by boosters as the last frontier town where cowboys and prospectors enjoyed liquor, women and gambling. In the 1950s it was largely characterized as a sophisticated resort town. More recently, Las Vegas has been depicted as controlled by organized crime, offering non-stop entertainment and luxury.

Gragg introduces readers to gangsters like Bugsy Siegel and Tony Spilotro and entertainers like Elvis and Frank Sinatra. His book is an eclectic blend of stories, people sights and sounds that make up Las Vegas’ appeal.

Larry Gragg is Curators’ Teaching Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. He is the author of several articles on Las Vegas in popular culture and on the promotion of Las Vegas in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, Nevada in the West, History Today, Studies in Popular Culture, Journal of Popular Culture, and Popular Culture Review. He currently is writing a biography of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel.

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