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Son of a Gambling Man

English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign

English: The Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve kicked off my summer reading by learning a bit about Nevada and the history of Las Vegas!

Son of a Gambling Man: My Journey from a Casino Family to the Governor’s Mansion by Governor Bob Miller is a real life American Dream story.   Governor Miller’s father, Ross Miller, was partial owner of the Rivera, and one of the early investors in Circus Circus.  He also had lunch with Jimmy Hoffa.

When Ross Miller moved his family out from Chicago in the 1950s, Las Vegas didn’t even have air conditioning.  Scorpions were a common household pest, and segregation was the norm.  Through incredible hard work and dedication, Ross Miller moved his family up in the world, but it meant rubbing elbows with Las Vegas elite, aka mobsters.

But Bob Miller’s path was very different.  This “son of a gambling man” went on to become a District Attorney, a Justice of the Peace, and the longest serving governor of Nevada.  He campaigned passionately for victim’s rights and stood up to the casinos in the middle of the Tailhook Scandal.  He also did a lot to heal relations with the African American community in Westside.

An interesting  aspect about this book is the inside look it gives into the 1995 movie Casino.  Son of a Gambling Man doesn’t have Sharon Stone, but it does have solid facts.

My favorite part of this memoir was the “unknowableness” of Ross Miller.  (Yes, I realize that’s not a word!)  But I think lots of adult children can relate to knowing their parents, but not really knowing them.  That situation can be universal.


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