Even though it took me six months to actually finish this book, it is one of my favorites. It got set down between thinking about moving, moving, and...moreEven though it took me six months to actually finish this book, it is one of my favorites. It got set down between thinking about moving, moving, and all the drama in between...but I finally picked it up to finish it this week. It goes without saying that Rickard is one of my favorite authors, and I have only read two of his books. His knowledge of history is amazing. I really wish I could memorize his books, his stories, and his wealth of geologic knowledge. Written in 1932, this book is old, but certainly not out of date! Get the low-down on the beginnings of mining in America. Even such rare and fascinating facts running back to the 1400's in north-east "America" - stories of copper in strange places. A book to re-read again and again, as well as with The Romance of Mining, as well as with all of Rickard's books. A classic to adore. (less)
2.5 stars. The first half was written by one author - that half was written terribly. The second half by a different author - much better writing. But...more2.5 stars. The first half was written by one author - that half was written terribly. The second half by a different author - much better writing. But overall, this book was just not deep enough and not well laid out. Each chapter (only a couple of pages) covers an old mining site - but the details that you might expect to get are just not there. Most of the stories feel very incomplete and even the layout of having the same map on just about every chapter (in the first half of the book) was annoying. Of course, it does leave me hankering to go to the Sierra - but it doesn't take much at beyond the mention of the mighty name to get me daydreaming. It seems that most of the these early Sierra mining ventures were really small and short lived. At the very least- next trip to Bishop I am going to take the Benton exit off of Hwy 6 and take the loop around to see some of the sites. Not worth reading, though it is a very fast book that could be skimmed through in two hours or less.(less)
Twenty stars. Among my all time favorite books. So glad to have stumbled upon a mention of it in Glasscock's book! Writing that is reminiscent of Mark...moreTwenty stars. Among my all time favorite books. So glad to have stumbled upon a mention of it in Glasscock's book! Writing that is reminiscent of Mark Twain, only better.
As far as I can tell this is the only book ever written by Albert, and that is a pity. He is beyond a masterful storyteller. His writing speaks to me on so many levels, as we share a common bond of a deep love for Nevada, mining, land, and poetic language. If I had one book to take with me in exile, this would be on my short list.
Albert retells his early life story about how he haphazardly became a prospector in Nevada in 1907 and his subsequent travels under the stars for the next 15 years. He never did strike it big; he seemed way to shifty for that... But he did meet some incredible personalities on his way including Getchell-- pre his famed mine, Death Valley Scoty, and scores of others. It is all told do colorfully, you wish you were alongside him; you feel you are.
A great read if you are feeling the wanderlust, but just can't get away. This book will take you there and them some. (less)
As a history of a exploration team in the 1920-1930's in northern Canada's wildness, this book was a near miss. Certainly the author had a wealth of g...moreAs a history of a exploration team in the 1920-1930's in northern Canada's wildness, this book was a near miss. Certainly the author had a wealth of great stories as he worked for Cominco - but nothing seemed to quite coalesce until the final chapter. The author and co-author, had an amazing trove of detail, and the ability - to some 50 years later - tell every day in great detail amazed me as a feat of record keeping not easily matched. But all this detail made the forest unviewable through the trees. As a story, I had a hard time grasping on to the larger picture, and meaning to hold it all together. The other surprise to me was the lack of mention of geology. Now this manager of exploration wasn't a geologist. Acting as a engineer or surveyor (but with no formal education), their main thrust seemed at times to be simply to map the crazy array of waterways in that unknown land. Often a whole summer seemed to produce no more than a river voyage, camping trip, and water route. There was little mention of rocks picked up for the first few years. Later on when they re-discovered the Pine Point Pb-Zn deposits, there was more mention of geology, but I was amazed by the lack of land/rock description, especially considering the book's depth of trip logistic descriptions. The last chapter though sums up the reason the author wrote the book. He was interested in having his place in the Pine Point deposit put down and given credit, as the company apparently stiffed him on a $100,000 finders reward that was promised him and tried to change the amount of responsibility he had in discovering and more so acquiring the place, so as to shift their financial obligations. Nagel (the prospector) also help developed the first North American U mine (LaBine Point).
I am struck with the impression that even in the 1930's geologists were not so important to an exploration team. Most the men hired were hired more for their ability as outdoors men. They seemed to be claim posters running to and fro tracking down every rumor that every fur trapper, Indian, or squaw man brought in about interesting looking rocks. Their sole thrust was simply mapping the land, having a blank sheet on which to draw...and at least according to this account, there was no thought of geologic mapping.
Lastly, of interest is that these men were the first men ever up in the air in the barren lands region. The first few years he recount are by canoe, but they they start using tiny aircraft to land on the lakes. A favorite and telling quote regarding this change: "But our independence had a double edge to it. Although we could now move quickly and secretly to any mineralized site that seemed promising, we no longer spent much time on the ground with the old-timers who knew the country. Those were the men who so often came upon important mineral deposits: the trappers and prospectors who had spent years walking and canoing over the areas at the ends of the tributaries to the great northern rivers, and knew the ancient, unmapped Indian trails."
This was a really hard book to get a hold of (as in I think I waited about 8 months for it to ship from OZ), but it was well worth the wait. Written v...moreThis was a really hard book to get a hold of (as in I think I waited about 8 months for it to ship from OZ), but it was well worth the wait. Written very accessibly, the story of the discovery of Olympic Dam was an easy and enjoyable read.
After a few chapters I was taken aback that they had really discovered the world's biggest mineral deposit on some psuedo-science...there was a very sketchy model driving the exploration as well as a lineament study that sounded a little more like water-witchery. A few chapters later, Upton addressed that I wasn't the only one who was surprised by the science employed to find this monster. But overall, he played the left-field science pretty lightly, and concentrated on Western Mining being an innovative company....which they were...but innovative and lucky. Actually this is exactly the type of story I was looking for. I hate when companies try to cover up their true discovery stories, just to make them look more professional. So hats off to WMC for coming out and telling the truth, even though in many people's estimations, it might make them look a little like blundering geologists, albeit, freaking lucky blundering geologists, with a lot of vision, creativity, drive, and passion. (less)
This book was really actually good. GG Rice was a supposed crook, mining stock swindler, etc. His name comes up with surprising frequency in western m...moreThis book was really actually good. GG Rice was a supposed crook, mining stock swindler, etc. His name comes up with surprising frequency in western mining history-always negative. But this book is his rebuttal against the accusations, and in my mind sounds solid. I wish I would have read this directly after A Hole in the Ground With a Liar On Top, as I had planned...would like to compare the two more, but it has been too long since reading that and this ended up being a drawn out read that I unfortunately didn't take notes on. But I will say this man deserves more investigation, and his reputation deserves a hung jury at the moment....(less)
A reprint of a book published in 1932, telling of the discovery and major decade (1900-1910) of Tonopah and Goldfield and mentioning a few other nearb...moreA reprint of a book published in 1932, telling of the discovery and major decade (1900-1910) of Tonopah and Goldfield and mentioning a few other nearby mining camps. Written very informally and concentrating more on the human aspect of the towns - it was nonetheless a fun easy read. Glasscock was a mining journalist of the times and speaks with many people who lived through the events first hand giving the book some great looks into life of the times. At the very least it makes me want to get a burrow :)
Tonopah was discovered by Jim Butler in May 1900. Goldfield (originally called Grandpa)was discovered by Marsh and Stimler in 1903. It was an insanely high grade district.