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Every time you think the story is building to something interesting, it just turns out to be the same old junk. Save yourself the time- watch the movie, pass on the book.
Dec 27, Andy Cooper rated it it was ok. This is an overrated book. But don't worry, all is not lost. It just needs to be re-purposed and moved into a different genre.
I am putting in a recommendation to officially change the title to The Encyclopedia of Mafia Run Casinos. If you are looking for a well told story, then go somewhere else.
Preferably back into Mario Puzo novels. On the other hand if you want to read a hastily put together story built by stacking facts and miscellaneous information on top of one another, then look no furth This is an overrated book.
On the other hand if you want to read a hastily put together story built by stacking facts and miscellaneous information on top of one another, then look no further.
It reads more like a mixture of an MTV True Life episode mixed in with some History Channel narration than it does like a story about an ambitious mobsters rise and fall in the land of ol' Las Vegas.
The story and the characters are there, but you'll have to go digging for them if you want to find the bones of things.
In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust. If you have seen the movie Casino, you know the general story but the names and many facts were changed.
Pileggi does not let his writing get in the way of a good story. The book is made up primarily of interviews and long stretches of story-telling by "Lefty" Rosenthal himself, various mob informants, and an assortment of federal and state law enforcement agents.
Although th In this book, Pileggi relates the story of the last days of mob control of Las Vegas casinos, specifically the Stardust.
Although the last chapter is somewhat in need of an update Las Vegas has reinvented itself numerous times since the end of the mob and the "high roller" culture , it was a nice coda.
Too dry and force. The mob would not approve. Dec 30, Saman Kashi added it Shelves: Sep 24, Kris rated it really liked it.
I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
That love affair has never ended and then the book popped up on Bookbub and I was thoroughly excited! So much so that I bought the book, watched the movie, read the book and then watched the movie again.
One main difference is that the book actually uses all the real names of the individuals. This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up I knew the minute Sharon Stone threw those chips in the air in the movie Casino that I was going to love this movie.
This allows the reader to set off exploring more about the real people online and pull up pictures to match names and faces. Of course, you can always use Pesci, DeNiro and Stone as the faces and still be ok.
But in the glory days, it was organized crime, primarily out of Los Angeles and Chicago, who owned Vegas. Lefty Rosenthal was a handicapper, bookmaker and odds man, trusted by the mob to go out to Vegas and run the Stardust and Hacienda Hotels.
The first part of the book introduces Lefty and his background as well as his best friend, Tony Spilotro, a well-known Chicago mobster.
After Lefty moves out to Vegas, he meets Geri McGee aka Ginger a well-known casino hustler and escort who works the punters as they come in to Vegas.
This despite her undying love for her ex-boyfriend, baby daddy Lenny. Tony Spilotro was sent to Vegas to keep an eye on Lefty and to secure their interests in the casino.
But Tony, cut free from his leash and keepers in Chicago, became a one crew crime spree. Bringing in his own people, he did burglaries, murders, jewelry heists, armed robbery, loan sharking etc.
The town was his for the taking and he took it all — including Geri. The movie closely followed the book so it will not disappoint film fans. In fact, it will enhance the viewing experience and make you want to watch it all again — twice!
Most of this book is gleaned from personal interviews with questionable characters, but how else would anyone get a handle on how the Mafia ran Las Vegas for 40 years?
Nicholas Pileggi does yeoman's work tracking down the main cops and culprits to paint a vivid picture of the casino industry when it was little short of a mob-front.
The book centers on the friendship of "Lefty" Frank Rosenthal, a world-renowned sports-handicapper and gambler when that was still a real federal crime, and Tony "the Most of this book is gleaned from personal interviews with questionable characters, but how else would anyone get a handle on how the Mafia ran Las Vegas for 40 years?
The book centers on the friendship of "Lefty" Frank Rosenthal, a world-renowned sports-handicapper and gambler when that was still a real federal crime, and Tony "the Ant" Spilotro, a small-time thug with an outsized ego.
They both grew up on the streets of West Side Chicago and learned to make their own gray or black-market incomes before moving on to bigger things.
When a former real-estate broker named Allen Glick bought the Stardust casino in using Teamster Central States Pension funds of which the Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Chicago mobs all had a piece , the mafia let him know that they were going to be effective owners, and Lefty would be their procounsel and effective manager.
Tony meanwhile moved out to Vegas as the head of a crew who would bust into safes and run small-time fleecing operations, but his notoriety eventually hurt both Lefty's and the mob's prospects.
Yet before an unrelated Kansas-City murder case, the insane note-keeping habits of Kansas mobman Carl Deluna, and bug opened up the whole operation, the mafia in Las Vegas was "skimming" billions a year from casinos and running much of the town.
Of course, this book was later turned into a classic Martin Scorsese movie of the same name, which is very faithful to it, but the book does give one a better window into the mechanics and funding of the mob, and how it grew to almost unimaginable wealth and power.
It's a great story. May 30, Johnathon rated it really liked it. Pileggi does a great job getting interviews and stories from his subjects, from Lefty, the FBI and various other mobsters, and let's them tell the story.
It is a story so crazy it has to be true Lefty at one point had a popular talk show where he interviewed O. The result is an enjoyable page turner well-worth reading, but not a classic true crime novel on how the mob left Las Vegas.
Jun 26, Debbie rated it did not like it Shelves: Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book.
The best description is that it is bare bones. I kept wanting broader descriptions and background. Perhaps my dissatisfaction stems from my recent reading of various types of Pulitzer Prize winning non-fiction titles.
For instance, Pileggi quotes Rosenthal as saying, after Jerry's passing, that lots of folks suspected him of killing her or arranging her death.
But he paid a considerable sum to have Scorscese's work is infinitely more interesting, but it's a fictional account based on this book.
But he paid a considerable sum to have determined her actual cause of death. That's all that was said. You hear what is missing, too, don't you.
The full book was that way. An excellent story about the mobs influence in Las Vegas, centering around two characters, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, professional gambler and casino manager, and Anthony Spilotro, Chicago mobster.
The story recounts the teamster financing of casinos, the business fronts, the mobster bosses, the murders, the skim, the thievery, the corruptions, and how it all fell apart with multiple players going to jail, or being murdered by their own associates.
The book was a good read, and the movie rendition An excellent story about the mobs influence in Las Vegas, centering around two characters, Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, professional gambler and casino manager, and Anthony Spilotro, Chicago mobster.
The book was a good read, and the movie rendition reflected the book's story. What an insane book!
It's crazy thinking how the Mafia was operating there. Made me think a lot about Vegas Anyone wanting to know some Mafia history about Vegas would find this book a must read.
This is one of those times when I'm not sure which is better-the book or the movie because they are both sensational. Aug 04, Jcshumate rated it liked it.
It's funny that the book that provided the narrative for an awesomely overstuffed three-hour film epic could be this short and breezy and still provide more detail than the film.
Books and movies are different from each other I guess. I think I liked Wiseguy more but i read that 20 years ago, which is weird to say out loud.
Compelling read Given Casino is one of my favorite movies, I thought I should at least read the book. It flows very well but I did find it hard to remember who was talking at some points.
A lot of characters sometimes made it hard to follow. But, congratulations to Mr Pileggi for documenting a very interesting part of Las Vegas history.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hearing the real names instead of made up names in the movie.
Liked how the movie was pretty true to the book. Because they were so similar the book was not as exciting. It's always better to read books first then watch movie.
Tony Spilotro was a crazy SOB. I found his stories to be the most entertaining. He did not care what anyone thought of him. I want to read Enforcer now.
May 12, Ben Tuthill rated it liked it. Pileggi does another good novel. Casino is a good story about the mob in Vegas. As others have said the movie follows the book well but not exactly, the book goes into more detail and the movie changed some things to make it better for the screen.
Overall a good story but it does get bogged down in spots. Although interesting and true, there are no good guys in this story only degrees of bad.
Enjoyable As a fan of the movie, I bought this to read while having some down time, a little escapism! I found it quite enjoyable and would recommend it to anyone who likes reading the type of books that you can verify on Wikipedia or Google.
Good enough for what it is. The central figure, Frank Rosenthal, is interesting although hardly the reticent gentleman portrayed by Robert DeNiro in the movie.
Recommended if you can get it cheap. Jul 13, Annie Goldman rated it did not like it. After watching the movie, I was interested in the book version.
It's a complete "he said she said" throughout the entire book and very choppy to read. I don't know how it became such a hit movie. Jun 16, Paul rated it really liked it.
Pretty engrossing read that kept me coming back to finish. This is the true tale behind the casino movie - with real names and real events.
It diverges from the movie in lots of areas, which made it more interesting for me - also made me appreciate the movie anew.
Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy , which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas , and for writing the book and screenplay Casino.
The movie versions of both were co-written and directed by Martin Scorsese. Pileggi also wrote the screenplay for the film City Hall.
He began his career as a journalist and had a profound interest in the Mafia. This is where he developed his Nicholas Pileggi is best known for writing the book Wiseguy , which he adapted into the movie Goodfellas , and for writing the book and screenplay Casino.
This is where he developed his intuition to author books such as Wiseguy and Casino. Certainly the basics are still there, but many additional stories, altered stories and the timeline is a little off from the movie.
Pileggi writes well and does great research. It was amazing that Pesci and Stone looked just like the real life people.
DeNiro wasn't even close, but he did a good job. I have enjoyed watching Casino 5 or 6 times, no one would argue it is a masterpiece, however, Pileggi's book discloses so much more, fleshing out the characters, revealing their true natures and interrelationships.
Until reading the book, I always felt sympathy for Rothstien Rosenthal , a perfectionistic genius whose only real crime seemed to be turning a blind eye to the skimming maybe the investors lost a bit, but everyone "got fat" Instead he was quite ruthless and had no problem threatening the Stardust's owner, Glick, with death.
Birds of a feather, and all that. Soon, anyone who presents a problem for Glick dies, because of the connection between the Teamsters' loan that financed Glick's purchase of the casinos and the skim.
It is an incredible story, and if the movie intrigues you, you may really appreciate the added details provided by the book. I loathe the inevitable comparisons made between "Casino" and "Goodfellas".
That's where the similarities end. Both films tackle stories in the criminal milieu and succeed in gripping the audience. Scorsese manages to make this film a fast-paced experience despite a nearly three hour running time.
He's ably abetted by some snappy editing by Thelma Schoonmaker, gorgeous cinematography by Robert Richardson, and good sense of the era love the cars and clothes.
Impeccable song choices on Scorsese's part on the soundtrack. The film is fascinating in how it portrays Las Vegas as a shimmering city which under it's surface is motivated by greed and avarice, which in turn breeds paranoia.
Just ask the eye in the sky. The first half of the film concerns itself with how some Midwest mobsters infiltrate a Vegas casino.
The second half shows how overreaching causes their downfall. DeNiro is superb as the oddsmaker who goes on to manage a casino only to be brought down by his own vanity.
Pesci is equally fine as the thug who wants to make Vegas his personal playground. Probably the best performance in the film belongs to Sharon Stone as DeNiro's wife who is at heart a hustler.
This is a difficult part to pull off because her's is essentially a character motivated by pure greed but Stone manages to convey the pathos to make her sympathetic.
I think Scorsese is a victim of his own success because this film was initially given lukewarm response from the critics and public alike.
Fortunately, time has been kind to "Casino". Prime Video Verified Purchase. One of my favorite movies. How Vegas went from being run by corrupt gangsters to being run by corrupt corporations.
All of the major players are at the top of their game. One person found this helpful. See all 2, reviews.
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