Son of a Gambling Man
My Journey from a Casino Family to the Governor's Mansion
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
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A memoir of growing up in mob-run Sin City from a casino heir-turned-governor who’s seen two sides of every coin
When Bob Miller arrived in Las Vegas as a boy, it was a small, dusty city, a far cry from the glamorous, exciting place it is today. Driving the family car was his father Ross Miller, a tough guy—though a good family man—who had operated on both sides of the law on some of the meaner streets of industrial Chicago.
The Miller family was as close and as warm as “Ozzie and Harriet,” as long as you knew that Ozzie was a bookmaker and a business acquaintance of some very dubious criminal types.
As Bob grew up, so did Vegas, now a “town” of some two million. Ross Miller became a respectable businessman and partner in a major casino, though he was still capable of settling a score with his fists.
And Bob went on to law school, entering law enforcement and eventually becoming a popular governor of Nevada, holding office longer than anybody in the state’s history. And the Miller family's legacy continues. Bob's own son is presently serving as Secretary of State.
A warm family memoir, the story of a city heir, with just a little bit of The Godfather and Casino thrown in for spice, Son of a Gambling Man is a unique and thoroughly memorable story.
BOB MILLER is Nevada’s longest serving governor, holding office from 1989 to 1999. His son, Ross, who is named after his grandfather, is presently in his second term as Nevada’s secretary of state.
“A refreshingly unpretentious statement of personal history and political accomplishment that avoids the pitfall of excessive self-congratulation.”
“Miller, Nevada’s longest-serving governor (1989 to 1999), opens this book by saying that it is not a typical autobiography. After a capable foreword by former President Bill Clinton, Miller writes lovingly, and without apology, about his father, a Chicago bookmaker, whose word was his bond. He counted mobsters as associates, leading to business opportunities in the pre-glitter Las Vegas era. The fledgling gambling mecca, Las Vegas, plays an important character here, as Miller’s father becomes deeply involved in the casino life, yet shields his son from it, instead urging him to take part in the American Dream. After a stint in the service and law school, Miller rises quickly from assistant district attorney to judge, entering public office and eventually becoming governor, where he boldly takes on the gaming industry and corrupt lawmakers. In addition to providing the basis for a revealing family memoir and a triumphant political document, Miller’s unique life is a testament to persistence, ambition, and respect for blood ties, including ties to his proud casino father.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Fascinating, larger-than-life story populated with eye-opening, colorful characters. This is an inspiring story as well from a first-rate family man and statesman. A unique and memorable memoir.”
“A fresh and candid appraisal of an intriguing life.”
—Richard O. Davies, distinguished professor of History, University of Nevada
“Bob’s story is the perfect example of the “American Dream” and how much one can accomplish by putting their mind and heart into it. I know a side of Bob Miller that many do not; the outspoken District Attorney - fighting for victim’s, children’s and women’s rights, the popular and longest serving Nevada Governor – who changed multiple laws to make Nevada safer for all citizens and the outstanding husband and father. This memorable story is a source of inspiration for all who aspire to great.”
—John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted
“Governor Miller has unique insight into the forces that have contributed to the growth and vitality of Las Vegas over the last half century. After reading “Son of a Gambling Man,” it’s obvious why and how he became such a dedicated and efficient public servant.”
—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
“Son of a Gambling Man is an incredible read and says what so many have been unable to say…those men and women who helped create one of the greatest cities in the world were at some point in time considered ‘outlaws’ and then later ‘heroes.’ Thank you Bob for this insight only you could offer. You are truly a man of your word and one of the bets Governor’s our state has ever had. I am proud to have been able to call you a friend for most of my life.”
“I want you to know this is not, I repeat not, a quintessential American story –it is a quintessential Nevada story. This entertaining, honest, and provocative book could have only taken place in Nevada.”