The story of the American mining frontier can be traced in the ghost towns — from the camps of California's forty-niners to the twentieth-century ruins in the Nevada desert. They mark an epoch of high adventure, of quick wealth and quicker poverty, of gambling and gun-slinging and hell-raising. We who have seen too many Western movies sometimes think that the legends of the Wild West were invented by scriptwriters — but the ghost towns remain, and their battered ruins testify that the legends are true, that behind the tall tales lies reality.
Robert Silverberg has brought the ghost towns back to life in the rowdy splendor of their heyday — when eggs might cost three dollars apiece and a town's street be literally paved with silver, when a fortune could be made in a week and lost in an evening. History and travelers' tales are woven together with clarity and wit to create a lively account of a fascinating era in our history. Lorence Bjorklund's illustrations, rich in detail, portray the ghost towns in their glory and in their dusty decline.
Robert Silverberg, author of such science fiction classics as Lord Valentine’s Castle, also writes books reflecting his special interest in myth, history, archaeology, and anthropology. More info →
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Some of the American West’s grandest legends are about people who in reality were remorseless killers, robbers, and bandits. These outlaws flourished during the 1800s and gained notoriety throughout the following century. How did their fame persist, and what has inspired the publishing, movie, and television industries to recreate their fictionalized careers over and over again? Mark Dugan brings reality to the forefront in The Making of Legends.
“The discovery of Goldfield, Nevada, in 1902, along with the earlier discovery of Tonopah in 1900, marked the revival of mining in Nevada. Mining production, which had escalated after the discovery of the Comstock Lode in 1859, dropped to almost nothing with the decline of the Comstock in the 1870s. Without continued mining production, the state entered what proved to be a twenty-year depression period that ultimately led some observers to suggest that Nevada be deprived of its statehood.
This is the story of the men who sought for gold, from California to the eastern rim of the Rocky Mountains. Wolle writes colorfully of the unbelievable privations the men endured in penetrating the fastnesses of the high Sierra and the Rockies and in crossing the desert wastes of Arizona, Utah and Nevada; of the mines first discovered in New Mexico by Coronado and his men four centuries ago; and the first great rush that hit California in 1849.