New Project: The Story of the Sands

I have some exciting news to share. I am deep into my next book project, which is a history of the Sands hotel and casino in Las Vegas. The first chapter is done, and I’m making great progress on the second.

The book will tell the story of the Sands, from before its 1952 opening to just after its 1996 implosion. As with Grandissimo, there are a lot of fascinating characters to write about, and a lot of stories to share. I see this book as, not a sequel too, but as a successor to Grandisismo, written with the same level of respect for the past and and an appreciation of how to do justice to the great stories of the world-famous casino. If you thought that book was a good read, I’m hopeful you’ll like this one as well. I’m just getting started and it’s already the most fun I’ve had writing in a long time.

What makes this book different is that there isn’t one single person it follows over the casino’s 44-year history. I’m looking forward to being able to show how the Sands epitomized classic Las Vegas thanks to the presence of Frank, Dean, Sammy, and so many others, and how it adjusted to the new realities of Las Vegas after Howard Hughes’ 1967 purchase and beyond. There’s a big temptation to focus only on the “Copa Era” (1960 to 1966), since that’s what most people think about when they think about the Sands, but there was too much of interest in the 1950s and after not to write about it.

And, funny to say, Hughes and the Summa Corporation owned the Sands for almost as long as the original group–14 years to 15.

I have put together a great deal of archival information about the Sands, thanks in part to the great holdings at UNLV Special Collections and Archives. I would like to supplement that with interviews with people who worked or just played at the Sands at any point before its 1996 closure. Writing Grandissimo, the interviews gave such a good perspective on the many sides of Jay Sarno that I want to talk to as many people as I can.

So if you have any history with the Sands (or know someone who does), please get in touch with me ( I would love to talk to you.

I will be posting updates as the project moves forward.

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