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NEVADA: The Great Rotten Borough by Gilman M. Ostrander

NEVADA: The Great Rotten Borough


Pub Date: April 18th, 1966
Publisher: Knopf

If state seals were composites of national images, Nevada would surely have a miner's pick topped by a one-armed bandit floating on a set of freshly inked divorce papers. Professor Ostrander's critical history of the state suggests another set of papers for that seal--mortgage papers. He calls Nevada an extreme example of the absentee ownership that underwrote most of the Western states--""mine operators, railroads, ranching corporations and gambling syndicates."" The narrow economic base of Nevada once derived from the rich deposits of copper, gold and silver. Ironically, its major industries now glitter above ground with Reno as the capitol of gambling and divorce. It's a revelation of long distance carpetbagging and a study of ""State's Rights Enterprise,"" the title of the last chapter. This enabled a Depression bound state to enact and protect the enabling laws within the framework of a federal government which might, without vigilance and native foresight, as captiously as prohibition was imposed, knock the bottom out of the boom. The book has national rather than regional value and this is easily the most readable of the reliable informational material on Nevada currently in print.