Revenge of the Pequots by Kim Isaac Eisler
In the mid-1970s, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe had only one member -- an elderly woman who pleaded with her grandson to come live on the impoverished reservation and save it from falling into government hands upon her death. In "Revenge of the Pequots," journalist Kim Isaac Eisler tells the remarkable story of how Richard "Skip" Hayward, then an unemployed ship-worker, granted his grandmother's dying wish, revived the moribund clan, and transformed the Pequots into the richest and most influential band of Native Americans in history. Established in 1992, Foxwoods Resort and Casino is the world's most profitable gambling establishment, grossing over $1 billion a year at its sprawling complex in the backwoods of Ledyard, Connecticut. Making use of arcane laws and court decisions never intended to benefit Native Americans as they have, Hayward brilliantly laid the groundwork for this staggering economic empire. In a story rife with drama, he challenged a succession of Connecticut governors and such worthy adversaries as casino moguls Steve Wynn and Donald Trump, while forming alliances with Malaysian industrialist Lim Goh Tong, renegade Seminole chief James Billie, and President Bill Clinton. As a result of Hayward's strategizing, for one of the few times in history -- and in a truly ironic reversal -- the bizarre legal structure governing Native Americans actually worked to their advantage in a mainstream enterprise. But the Pequots' meteoric rise to fortune has left many wondering: Is this turnabout fair play?
In this riveting rags-to-riches tale, Eisler deftly explores the wide-ranging issues that have framed the great Native American casino debate and the ramifications of the Native American casino boom in a nation still uneasy about its roots.
Simon & Schuster: 2001.
ISBN: 9780684854700. 267 pp.
Hardcover. Very good.