Cover image for 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
Benedict, Jeff.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2000]

Physical Description:
viii, 376 pages : maps ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.P53 B45 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In 1973, an old American Indian woman dies with nothing left of her tribe but a trailer and a two-hundred-acre reservation in the sleepy backyard of Ledyard, Connecticut. It seems to signal the end of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe. But it is just the beginning. Over the course of the next three decades, the reservation grows to more than two thousand acres and becomes home to Foxwoods, the largest casino in the world, grossing more than $1 billion per year. The Pequots are reborn, immensely wealthy, and in possession of an enormous amount of political influence.

How did it happen?

In compelling detail, Without Reservation tells the stunning story of the rise of the richest tribe in American history.

It begins with the grand ambitions of two men. One, an unemployed navy brat and outsider, is a failed preacher with the uncanny ability to charm; the other is fresh out of law school and armed with a brilliant legal theory to help impoverished Indian tribes. Together they resurrect the Pequots and battle the local townspeople to aggressively expand their reservation, taking on the state government for the right to gamble on their land. Embracing their cause are misguided and misinformed government officials and a former mob prosecutor who brings Malaysian financiers to the table.

The Pequots must also contend with the price of power. Without Reservation reveals the mysterious roots of today's Pequot tribe, the racial tension that divides them, and the Machiavellian internal Power struggle over who will control the tribe's purse strings.

This is a story of the duality of the American dream, the good and the bad that come with enormous wealth. Author Jeff Benedict shines a light on the dreamers and the deal makers, the backroom politicking and courtroom machinations, the trusts and betrayals, and the world of high-powered attorneys, politicians, tribal leaders, and financiers who made the Pequots what they are today.

As compelling as a novel, Without Reservation is must reading for anyone interested in the way today's world really works.

Author Notes

Jeff Benedict has a B.A. in history from Eastrern Connecticut University, a M. A. in Political Science from Northeastern University and a J. D. from the New England College of Law. He started out as the director of research at the Center for Study of Sports and Society at Northeastern University where he conducted research on athletes and violence against women. He went on to publish a series of studies on the topic.

He has since written fifteen non-fiction books. Hi title's include: Puvblic Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women, Athletes and Acquaintance Rape. Sage Series on Violence Against Women, Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, Without Reservation: The Making of America's Most Powerful Indian Tribe and the World's Largest Casino, and My Name Used to Be Muhammad: The True Story of a Muslim Who Became a Christian. In 2018 he released another bestseller entitled, Tiger Woods. He is also a writer for Sports Illustrated and a television and film producer.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

It is no longer a cliche that "Columbus discovered America." Still, many Americans bridle at its replacement that "Columbus discovered America already inhabited from coast to coast." The case of the Connecticut Pequots required the efforts of two non-Pequot men, one an unemployed outsider and failed preacher, the other just out of law school, with a legal theory to help impoverished Indian tribes. They resurrected the Pequots, fought the local townspeople to expand their reservation, and convinced the state government to allow their right to gamble on their land. The Pequots have also contended with the price of power based on their origins, the racial tensions within their tribe, and a struggle over who will control the purse strings. Theirs is the American dream of wealth, which when fulfilled brings both good and bad results. It is a story of the conflicting effects of wealth, regardless of race. All collections with an interest in Native Americans, ethnic identity, and Indian casinos. F. Nicklason; formerly, University of Maryland College Park