The best books on the Reno divorce ranch era (when Reno was the divorce capital of the world)

Who am I?

Sandra V. McGee has co-authored six books with her husband, William L. McGee. She is regarded as an expert on the Reno divorce ranch era, which flourished from the 1930s to the 1950s. Sandra’s passions are movies from the 1930s and ‘40s, many featuring a Reno divorce in the storyline. The Divorce Seekers is optioned for a streaming series.


I wrote...

The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

By William L. McGee, Sandra V. McGee,

Book cover of The Divorce Seekers: A Photo Memoir of a Nevada Dude Wrangler

What is my book about?

Reno, 1947. The heyday of the six-week divorce era when “I’m going to Reno!” was synonymous with “quickie” divorce. From 1947 to 1949, Bill McGee was the head dude wrangler on the Flying M.E., Nevada’s most exclusive divorce ranch (as they were called), twenty miles south of Reno. The Flying M.E. catered to wealthy divorce seekers… Easterners with names like Astor, du Pont, Roosevelt, and Hollywood celebrities, such as Clark Gable and Ava Gardner. Bill’s stories about the changing cast of characters that came and went every six weeks are like an old Hollywood movie coming to life. True stories with 500 photos.

The books I picked & why

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Reno

By Max Miller,

Book cover of Reno

Why this book?

Published in 1941, you might have to do a little searching to find this book. Max Miller, a former newspaperman, recaptures the glamour of Reno in its heyday as “Divorce Capital of the World”. The prose is racy and fun.

Reno

By Max Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reno as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This book is one of a Special Limited Edition printed expressly for and presented with the compliments of the Reno Club, Inc."


A Reporter At Large: Dateline: Pyramid Lake, Nevada

By A.J. Liebling,

Book cover of A Reporter At Large: Dateline: Pyramid Lake, Nevada

Why this book?

In 1949, renowned journalist A. J. Liebling went to Reno for a divorce. He stayed at the remote Pyramid Lake Ranch, thirty-four miles north of Reno at Sutcliffe, Nevada. In what can only be described as “vintage Liebling,” he writes about his stay on the ranch and the challenges of being surrounded by so many women. As Liebling says, “I have never been reluctant to buy a lady a drink, but there were thirty-eight ladies in residence at the ranch, and this offered a problem in economics.” In 1956, Arthur Miller stayed at the Pyramid Lake Ranch for a divorce so he could marry Marilyn Monroe. Miller got the idea for The Misfits during his residency on the ranch.

A Reporter At Large: Dateline: Pyramid Lake, Nevada

By A.J. Liebling,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Reporter At Large as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1949, renowned journalist A. J. Liebling came to Reno to obtain a divorce, which required that he establish residency in Nevada for a period of six weeks. Liebling stayed at a guest ranch on the shores of Pyramid Lake. While there, his reporter's curiosity was engaged by a bitter dispute raging between the Paiutes and non-Indian squatters who were claiming the most agriculturally productive lands of the reservation and the waters feeding the lake that was the economic and spiritual heart of the Paiutes' ancient culture.

Liebling recorded the litigation over the fate of the Pyramid Lake Reservation lands…


Reno's Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City

By Alicia Barber,

Book cover of Reno's Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City

Why this book?

Besides having the pleasure of being interviewed by the delightful Ms. Barber, she has written an excellent book covering Reno’s history and its current challenge of re-inventing itself now that the town is no longer a destination for easy divorce and gambling.

Reno's Big Gamble: Image and Reputation in the Biggest Little City

By Alicia Barber,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reno's Big Gamble as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Pittsburgh socialite Laura Corey rolled into Reno, Nevada, in 1905 for a six-month stay, her goal was a divorce from the president of U.S. Steel. Her visit also provided a provocative glimpse into the city's future.With its rugged landscape and rough-edged culture, Reno had little to offer early twentieth-century visitors besides the gambling and prostitution that had remained unregulated since Nevada's silver-mining heyday. But the possibility of easy divorce attracted national media attention, East Coast notables, and Hollywood stars, and soon the 'Reno Cure' was all the rage. Almost overnight, Reno was on the map.Alicia Barber traces the transformation…


Reno

By Guy Clifton,

Book cover of Reno

Why this book?

As with all of the books in the Images of America series, this book, written by 30-year veteran journalist Guy Clifton, is beautifully illustrated with informative and generous captions. Mr. Clifton’s love for his city and the people who live there is evident. He has met most of the people he writes about, many who allowed him to use images never before published.

Reno

By Guy Clifton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reno as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Reno has always been a small town where big things happen. Long before it adopted the slogan "The Biggest Little City in the World," Reno was visited by presidents, the nation's elite, and those drawn to the city's wide-open, live-and-let live attitude. "The Fight of the Century," between heavyweight boxers Jack Johnson and Jim Jeffries brought Reno worldwide attention in 1910, and the legalization of gambling and liberalization of divorce laws in 1931 made the city a national destination. At the same time, Reno never lost its small-town feel, with generations of families and scores of familiar faces building long-standing…


Reno Now and Then

By Neal Cobb, Jerry Fenwick,

Book cover of Reno Now and Then

Why this book?

Besides knowing everything about Reno history, Neal Cobb and Jerry Fenwick have carefully photographed and juxtaposed the “now and the then” images of Reno sites and captioned the images in detail. The books (there are two volumes) beckon a walking trip through various neighborhoods, books in hand, comparing the past with the present.

Reno Now and Then

By Neal Cobb, Jerry Fenwick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reno Now and Then as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Reno Nevada, Nevada, and divorce?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Reno Nevada, Nevada, and divorce.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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