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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  1,141 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Set in Mexico during the revolution, THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE is a story of danger and adventure, mystery and intrigue. It is the tale of three Americans and their search for gold in the rugged Sierra Madres.

Our literature is replete with the romance of riches for free. But in THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE the litany of desire reveals itself in an unusual and e

Published April 1st 1968 by Signet (first published 1927)
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Hal Croves, agent to novelist B. Traven, visited the set of his client's film the treasure of the sierra madre. croves had a german accent. he aroused the suspicion of many people, including director john huston. croves swiftly disappeared only to resurface in the 1950s in mexico city. upon his death in 1969 it was discovered that no record of birth for Hal Croves ever existed.

Ret Marut was involved in leftist politics in germany in the 1920s. he was the editor of the radical magazine der ziege
The author of this book, B. Traven, is a mystery man but his novels are some of the best moral adventure tales that I have ever read. Treasure of the Sierra Madre is his best known novel, probably due to the film version directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart. In it three Americans down on their luck prospect for gold in the Mexican Sierra Madre. A genuinely exciting adventure tale, it is also a psychological novel that takes us through the disintegration of one of the three, Dobbs ...more
Traven’s classic novel, which became a classic movie, about greed, gold, and violence in the Mexican wilderness, is a thoughtful, entertaining morality tale. The movie followed Traven’s plot and dialogue pretty closely, except for some variation in the ending where the film collapses scenes for economy sake, and for a couple of long, but entertaining mining yarns told by Howard, the grizzled prospecting veteran. So if you have seen the movie, you know not only the plot and ending but you can see ...more
Raegan Butcher
Excellent adventure tale from the mysterious B. Traven. This book can really give you a taste of being down and out in a hot, dusty foreign country.
Ned Mozier
Written in the 30's, this story provides intricate details about the adventures of the poor scrapping men trying to find work in Mexico. It is about Spanish and American imperialism, the power of capitalism, the despoiling of the environment (yet another oil boom), religious elitism and power mongering and (mostly) the omnipresent greed in the heart of every man. Three men seek their fortune in gold, finding that it is a chore and there are unimagined perils. An old man (grey in the beard) keeps ...more
John Hood
Bound: SunPost Weekly June 3, 2010
When Badass Books Become Kickass Flicks

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
(Farrar Straus Giroux $16)
At first glance this tale may seem less pulpy than the above, but its heart consists wholly of the stuff pulp lives are made of. To wit: losers still looking to win despite lives filled with nothing but loss – and not a damn chance in hell they’ll succeed.

If you’ve seen John Huston’s 1948 adaptation of B. Traven’s desolate 1927 classic, you’ll kno
Ruthie Jones
I find this story (both the book and the movie) truly horrifying in that it explores the depths of the human mind in terms of greed and conscience. These traits are expressed explicitly through Dobbs. The horror really begins torward the end with the chapter that starts with "A night of horror began for Curtin. Not so for Dobbs." Scary!

Dobbs clearly goes off the deep end and pays a heavy price. Juxtaposed with the relatively loose honesty of Curtin and Howard, Dobbs's break with sanity is that m
I’m very fond of the movie it inspired, so expected to enjoy this book. I did not. In my opinion the book is actually inferior to the film version. The writing is very uneven--some of it is downright atrocious. I’m not saying the book is without merit, but I approached it with expectations that were too high.

The story as it unfolds here is much darker than it was in the movie. The backdrop is Mexico, whose native population has been exploited for hundreds of years by the Catholic church, only t
j to the muthafuckin R
I had kept hearing about how good of an author B. Traven was by many friends, and told of the mystery that surrounds the author - (no one knowing really who B. Traven is, or even if there is more than one author, what country the author originates from or anything else).
And then a friend of mine gave me a copy of this book, and I devoured it. (Not literally)
The story itself is exciting, a page turner, & like a Quentin Tarantino film - it has many layers of several different stories woven thr
The story was interesting enough to keep me hooked despite the dense language. Every so often little gems of lines would pop through making me think David Sedaris had clearly written this story has an homage to westerns and that all the tales of this book being old were inside jokes I never got. But then, blatant racism would draw me back to the time when authors could only say 'funking' as not to be censored. These tid bits still leave puzzled and question the well written morals of this story. ...more
Todd Stockslager
Review title: That's the power of gold

Huey Lewis had a big 80s hit called the "Power of Love", and while I risk derisive laughter by admitting to remember this, I will also say it wasn't such a bad song as songs of that era go. Indeed, the power of love is a popular theme in all the arts. Perhaps a close second, and here an overwhelming winner, is the theme of the power of gold.

The title of B. Traven's one remembered book should sound familiar--it is a classic movie with Humphrey Bogart in the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is an underrated masterpiece. It's the basis for the classic John Huston movie of the same name ("We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!"). Nobody seems to know who or what a "B. Traven" is, but he produced a compelling and beautifully written novel. As one of the Mexican bandits in the story might say, read it you goddamned cabrón and chinga tu madre!
Florin Andrei
This book came, un-ordered, with an Amazon delivery. It was billed, so instead of getting a refund for it, I decided to read it. That it was made into a classic film, which I still have not seen, helped.

I'm glad I kept the book. It was fun to read and had more to it than I would expect from a Western story. Although the language, and especially the dialogue, was wooden at times, it was fascinating how Traven illustrated ideas of life within and without society.
Doctor Edward Diesel
"Gold does things to man's mind..."
Miguel Soto
¿Qué maldición tiene el oro que le hace tan atractivo y le vuelve tan peligroso? ¿Qué hay en él que hace que el hombre se vuelva loco en su búsqueda? Dos cosas son seguras: algo tiene el oro que provoca asesinatos, robos y demás crímenes; el oro por sí mismo no vale nada, para que valga hay que llevarlo a donde se le asigne valor.

B. Traven (el misterioso, ¿quién sería?), nos lleva a través de México con sus personajes habituales, los gringos en México y los indios, a enterarnos de aquellos dos h
An uncommon sort of adventure story.

At times, Traven's journalistic roots show, when he seems more interested in depicting the setting of the story and its social conditions than in moving the "plot" along. For instance, in the first chapter, he spends 13 pages describing the Hotel Oso Negro in far more detail than is necessary for the few brief scenes set there. Traven knew the places and people in this story from first-hand experience. It was a wise choice for him to write a novel, even if he
Lawrence FitzGerald
I have a soft spot for Traven.

I cannot tell you if he is a socialist or a communist or something else. He does lean to the left, but he's subtle. He's not your typical strident propagandist SHOUTING at his audience. He takes his time; he tells an entertaining tale or two and then he lets you draw your own conclusions.

He writes in a good third person voice, something that is not easily done.

In first person, you're sitting in a quiet bar listening to someone tell you his story, what happened to h
Clark Hays
Mirroring the subject matter, the search for gold, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a glittering masterpiece appropriately hidden under the dust of history and shifting literary layers filled with nuggets of brilliance that flash and then recede.

One layer is the landscape of the Sierra Madre mountains and he does an admirable job of capturing the physical characteristics of this remote, forbidden area to the extent a glass of cold water helps ease the reading.

Another layer is of Mexico itself
Sep 16, 2011 Liam rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: cohen brothers fans
Recommended to Liam by: 2666 fans (w/r/t Archimboli)
A fantastic little story about American workers in 1920s Mexico, attempting to find their fortune whilst feverishly guarding their secret accumulation of wealth from sadistic, roaming bandits. Mexico in this novel is a place where working people are thrown about from poor paying job to poor paying job, with no place to live in except camps and hotels, and where the only cheer is found in retelling stories of glorious hidden riches. It's funny, gritty (for its time), humane and gripping.

A book club choice, not a thrift shop find. Not an easy read, I thought it was monotonous,but not meaning boring, but meaning monotone, it was written in such a way that even the most sensational events seemed parched. There was no emotion in this book. I do think that maybe this was done in an effort to match the harshness of the landscape he wrote about, but I would have to read more of his books to test this theory, and I am pretty sure that I don't want to.

One of my book gorup memeber just
Not bad, but the truly exciting parts were weaker than I had expected or hoped for. The book has a good reputation. I started skim-reading after a while, which is not a good sign, as long sections lost my interest. Basically the story is about three American prospectors (a cagey old veteran and two neophytes), who search for an abandoned mine and scratch out a decent haul of gold. Work and life is hard in the backcounty, and the old guy keeps them from making too many really bad mistakes. They a ...more
A morality tale about two indolent Americans eking out an existence in Mexico by begging and the occasional oil refinery job, who team up with an old prospector to mine for gold in the mountains. I've heard this book described as "deeply ironic," which I can't really go along with considering that everything you expect would happen -- greed, paranoia, and violence -- eventually does happen. I originally read this book when I was 15 and it was assigned in my high school Spanish class, though pres ...more
Jim Kelsh
What a find this is. Most anyone is aware of the John Huston directed/Humphrey Bogart starring classic movie by this name. Many don't know that it's based on a 1935 novel written by a character named B. Traven. This guy was the whole deal.He may have been born under a different name in Germany in 1882. he may have been a mexican revolutionary. He used several names, he may even have been on the set of the movie. He may have died in 1969.
Be that as is may, he wrote a crackerjack of a novel. This
'In this world no shirt, no pair of pants, no shoes can be so shabby that some human being will not say: "Let me have it, please; look at mine, Thank you, sir!" For no man can ever be so poor bu that another believes himself still poorer.'

Also that line about the "stinkin badges" is totally in this book. I thought that was just added for the movie script. Anyway, cool. Traven books are great.
I decided to read the book before I watched the movie. A great writer. Love his style, mostly understating to achieve effect. A study in human character amid the revelation of what a man is capable of when confronted with gold and the knowledge that gold has no value until it is someplace someone wants it. Well worth reading. Dobbs, Curtin and Howard have gone down in history.
This was an interesting read. I liked what the author had to say about gold/the pursuit of wealth. My favorite line had something to do with how men who acquire a little wealth then shift to become slaves to their money, shifting their focus to protecting what they have and/or getting richer. I also liked how it was a western; I don't read too many of those. There is a definite vein of ghost stories and legend that runs throughout the book. Don't know how accurate his portrayal of olden day Mexi ...more
I didn't think I would like this book as much as I did. The writing, especially the dialogue, was fun. The descriptions of the oil rush in Mexico made me want to learn more about the topic. I thought the themes of solitude and greed were highlighted, but in a way that wasn't preachy. I thought this was a great portrayal of the Americas in their development.
You may have seen the movie (if you haven't, you really should; it's great), but have you read the book? Maybe you, like me, didn't know there WAS a book. Well, there is, written in 1927 by an enigmatic author, about whom there is still controversy, and doubt as to who he really was. Mystery about the author there may be, but the fact is that the book itself is excellent. It's set in Mexico, where a down and out drifter named Dobbs is trying to eke out an existence by panhandling and looking fo ...more
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B. Traven (February, 1882? – March 26, 1969?) was the pen name of a German novelist, whose real name, nationality, date and place of birth and details of biography are all subject to dispute. A rare certainty is that B. Traven lived much of his life in Mexico, where the majority of his fiction is also set—including his best-known work, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1927), which was adapted as ...more
More about B. Traven...
Macario The Death Ship Canasta de cuentos mexicanos The Rebellion of the Hanged The Bridge in the Jungle

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“Anyone who is willing to work and is serious about it will certainly find a job. Only you must not go to the man who tells you this, for he has no job to offer and doesn't know anyone who knows of a vacancy. This is exactly the reason why he gives you such generous advice, out of brotherly love, and to demonstrate how little he knows the world.” 23 likes
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