The story of the American mining frontier can be traced through the ghost towns that dot the western landscape to this day, from the camps of California’s forty-niners to the twentieth-century ruins in the Nevada desert. These abandoned towns mark an epoch of high adventure, of quick wealth and quicker poverty, of gambling and gunslinging and hell-raising. Those who have seen the Old West movies sometimes think that the legends of the Wild West were invented by screenwriters. The ghost towns remain, and their battered ruins testify that the legends are true. Behind the tall tales is a history where a fortune could be made in a week and lost over the course of an evening.
With a historian’s attention to fact and a novelist’s gift for dramatic storytelling, celebrated science fiction author Robert Silverberg brings these adventures back to life in the rowdy splendor of their heyday in Ghost Towns of the American West. 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, a renowned science fiction author and recipient of multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards, 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.
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