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The Silverado Squatters
Robert Louis Stevenson
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The Silverado Squatters

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  127 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Just as Peter Mayle captured the mood an characters of Provence, Robert Louis Stevenson evokes California's wine country and some of the unique characters he found there while honeymooning with Bay Area native Frances Osbourne and her stepson in the summer of 1880. The new family spent nine weeks in Calistoga and the Napa Valley, residing in a bunkhouse of an abandoned sil ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1883)
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Scott Cox
This book is somewhat of travel memoir for Robert Louis Stevenson who spent about one year in California before returning to Europe (and ultimately Tahiti, where he died & is buried). It is a story of Stevenson and his new bride "squatting" in the abandoned housing of an old mine, the Silverado. The abandoned silver & gold mine is on Mt. Saint Helena near the Napa wine country town of Calistoga. Stevenson describes the natural beauty of the area, providing an entire chapter on looking do ...more
Bobby Lajayjay
Honestly I do not believe this story deserves such a low rating as three stars. Nonetheless I have given such an appraisal simply because the story was uninteresting to me.
Robert Louis Stevenson's writing is amazing, and flows with something like a poetic air. However, the tale he wove with these words was less than intriguing.
It took me quite awhile to slog through and I dearly hope I do not have to read it again.
James M.
A most interesting honeymoon, spent in an old mining camp, on Mount Saint Helena in California, Stevenson rarely mentions his new wife. He does a remarkable job in fleshing out the other characters in his tale, including an odd "respectful anti-semitism" no doubt fashionable in that time, and some curious thoughts and bright observations of the fellow inhabitants of the mountain. Most impressive are his physical depictions of the the mountain: the fog rolling in, like a great andulivian flood, w ...more
Aug 23, 2015 Deke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who knew RLS wrote nonfiction so eloquently and even reverently? Highly recommended if you live in or love California's wine country, of and on which he waxes poetic, transporting you to a place and time that's almost mythical. His comment that napa valley wine is "bottled poetry" is well known around there, but it's his description of waking to find the valley below him filled with fog, like a lake, that I found most poetic.
Jul 08, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent travel memoir of Robert Louis Stevenson's time spent in the Napa Valley/Calistoga region, in particular the old mining town called Silverado. His descriptions of the people and the area (in 1880) are wonderfully detailed and almost poetic. I could see the old mines, the ramshackle, abandoned house and the beautiful, mesmerizing, all encompassing fog.

I highly recommend this for Napa Valley/California/the old West fans.
Ali Skiera
May 26, 2014 Ali Skiera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think it helped that I was able to purchase a copy from the RLS museum during my vacation to California... and read while lounging poolside and basking in the sun... right after checking out the Nappa Valley. It was the perfect read in the perfect setting>
Snow Ford
Aug 21, 2012 Snow Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a nice little novella of Stevenson's rustic honeymoon on a mountain above Calistoga in a deserted mining camp. I chose this book because I wanted to read a story with my boys that had mellifluous writing, with more complex vocabulary but was still accessible. This was a good choice, since we had familiarity with "A Childs Garden of Verses" and "Treasure Island", and the local tie in. Each chapter is a little vignette, making it a good choice for bedtime. It was a delight to read aloud, with lang ...more
Nathaniel Winters
Jul 10, 2015 Nathaniel Winters rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I know R.L.S. is a legend but the book was a total bore from beginning to the end. I live in the area so I wanted to like it but I could not.
Jori Richardson
Dec 07, 2012 Jori Richardson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Robert Luis Stevenson or those interested in the Californian Napa Valley
Shelves: books-owned, travels
I came across this little book in the dollar bin of a used bookstore, and was intrigued because I had never heard of this particular manuscript by Stevenson.
Basically, it is a simple, concise collection of various portraits of scenery, all located in the California mountains around Napa Valley. The descriptions were charmingly pastoral. However, after a little while all the descriptions of houses, valleys, and mountains seem to merge and become all one and the same.
Extremely repetitive.
May 20, 2009 Hope rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this would be a fun book to read because we had gone to the Petrified Forest in CA where Robert Louis Stevenson had been and this book had been written about his account there. But, I forgot that the auther was Scottish and a poet and I really didn't like the way he wrote. I had a hard time following his writings as he jumped around so much. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone unless they like the writings of Robert Louis Stevenson.
Paul Jellinek
Oct 21, 2011 Paul Jellinek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written at about the same time as "Treasure Island," his breakthrough classic, this little book is not one of Stevenson's best by any means, but it gives you a sense of the man and what his life was like at the time, and it does contain some beautiful writing, both about the Calistoga-Napa Valley section of California in the 1880's and about some the people who lived there.
May 31, 2010 Truitti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read this, remember that this was about 1870. I DEFFINATELY would not want to be part of settling the west. Living like this doesn't appeal to me at all. LOL Give me a bathroom and round up anytime !! I am still not sure if Stevenson was being a bigot or just describing people's backgrounds. BUT I am now researching to see if Silverado is still in Calif.
Dec 14, 2013 Marley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I delightful little gem from Roberet Lewis Stevenson--an account of his honeymoon in the more-or-less ghost town of Silverado. I got a little tired ofhis descriptions of the landscape and natural wonders (I know!), but they are beautifully written. Of more interest to me were the people he met along the way. Real characters. This should be a classic travel book.
Noran Miss Pumkin
Jun 09, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: travel reader
Recommended to Noran by: locals
Shelves: classic
this was my first travel read,The Petrified Forest of Calistoga, California is the basis of this story. this started my life long habit of travel reads. it was an exciting read for a young lady that had never been more than 75 miles away from home, nor flown before. nor traveled without her parents before either. so my rating maybe a little off.
A memoir by the famous author about the brief period he and his new bride lived in an abandoned house near an abandoned silver mine just ten miles or so from Calistoga, California. I've heard about it for years. It was good to finally read it and get the impressions of the area of someone from that long ago.
Edward Weiner
Enjoyed this because I am so familiar with the Napa Valley. Interesting descriptions of Napa Valley in the late 19th century. RLS wrote this before he wrote any of his more famous books. Kind of fun. Short and Sweet.
This book has been on my list for awhile. It's very short and provides interesting historical context for Napa Valley in the 1880s. It's also fairly racist and not particularly polished - more of a collection of diary entries from the period.
Jan 09, 2012 Allison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
RLS's notes about he and his family living in Silverado CA to escape the San Fran. fogs. Good descriptions but seems like there should be more to the book.
David Cozens
Summer 1880 in the Napa Valley. The kindle version seems to end in the middle!
Jul 15, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book #1 in my 3-book 'Road Books' list along with 'On the Road' by Jack Kerouac and 'The Road' by Jack London.
Apr 09, 2012 LP rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the most compassionate and humorous writers it's been my pleasure to read.
Brandon Longstreth
Brandon Longstreth marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2016
ArjaJ rated it really liked it
Oct 15, 2016
Rawkmonster marked it as to-read
Oct 08, 2016
J.D. Lerro
J.D. Lerro marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2016
Mitya Luka
Mitya Luka rated it liked it
Sep 25, 2016
Brigid marked it as to-read
Sep 24, 2016
Philip marked it as to-read
Sep 22, 2016
Clara Levine
Clara Levine marked it as to-read
Sep 16, 2016
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Robert Louis (Balfour) Stevenson was a Scottish novelist, poet, and travel writer, and a leading representative of English literature. He was greatly admired by many authors, including Jorge Luis Borges, Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling and Vladimir Nabokov.

Most modernist writers dismissed him, however, because he was popular and did not write within their narrow definition of literature. It is o
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“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” 348 likes
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