Book Review: ‘Unreal City: Las Vegas, Black Mesa, and the Fate of the West’ by Judith Nies

A tale of two books, in effect. This book was so good for the first two sections when it concentrated on a lot of history and set forth a lot of facts with regard to the Navajo/Hopi reservations, politicians, Mormons, mineral rights, along with the need for water and electricity in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. Then, the author takes a hard turn and gets into Bechtel Corporation, US Military, and Indian rights that are not related to her main premise of the book.

The book does make you think about things, and even though the author is definitely pro-Navajo, there is so much history that she brings into this tale that you just shake your head at all the deals and “legal” maneuvering that went on in order to get their rights to coal and water in order for development throughout the Southwest. And once those rights were obtained they then moved onto Uranium which was needed for our Atomic Energy and Weapons programs.

As I said, this book was highly enjoyable and thought-provoking for the first 2 sections, but the overall rating is brought down by a preachy and overreaching last third of the book.

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