cover image Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods the World's Largest Casino

Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and Foxwoods the World's Largest Casino

Jeff Benedict / Author HarperCollins $26 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-

In this chronicle of Foxwoods, the world's largest, richest casino, Benedict salutes the ingenuity and tenacity of several Native American tribes that have weathered regional infighting, political intrigue, legal wrangling and financial challenges to realize their dream of economic prosperity and cultural survival. Benedict tells the story through the lives of three pivotal players: rebellious, unkempt tribal chief Richard ""Skip"" Haywood, self-sacrificing white attorney Tom Tureen and Maine's worldly commissioner of Indian affairs, John Stevens. Despite the stiff competition between tribes for limited federal funds, this trio set out to convince Washington lawmakers to recognize their petition for compensation in cash and land based on a history of seized property. Linking a chain of brief scenes, Benedict re-creates the first legal battles in Maine and Congress (which resulted in a historic 1980 federal law and an $81.5 million settlement for the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot tribes) and the subsequent brilliant maneuvering by Haywood, Tureen and their team to override President Reagan's veto of a bill granting Haywood's Pequot tribe regulatory control over its reservation. While the book bogs down after these initial victories, it revives with the story of the creation and building of Foxwoods, which opened on February 14, 1992, after a firestorm of controversy and political bloodletting. Although Benedict gives each of his key characters equal consideration in his engrossing study, it's Haywood who ultimately captures the reader's interest with his astounding evolution from drunken wife batterer to thoughtful, skilled visionary. (May)