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Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  25 reviews
From a first-rate writer in the fascinating tradition of Junger and Krakauer (Jim Harrison, author of Legends of the Fall), a sweeping account of civilizations complete dependence on copper and what it all means for people, nature, and the global economy.

ebook, 288 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Scribner
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John Frazier
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If ever there were a book that would make you consider packing up and moving from wherever you now live, this is it.

As most good stories do, this one begins quite innocuously, with author Bill Carter doing what millions of fathers and families have done forever: starting a garden outside his modest home. The distinction in this case is that Bill's home is nestled in the mountains of what once was the copper mining capital of the world, Bisbee, Arizona, located in the southeast corner of the
Paul Pessolano
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Boom, Bust, Boom by Bill Carter, published by Scribner.

Category Nature and Ecology Publication Date October 16, 2012

There are many books written that describe that desecration of our planet by modern technology. There are few that are as far reaching and descriptive as Boom, Bust, Boom.

Bill Carter takes just one element, copper, and paints a picture that is both scary and hopeless. He not only researches copper mining in Arizona but places such as Mexico, Africa, and New Guinea. It is
Dan Allosso
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up because it struck me that I might build my lectures and chapter about mining around copper mining. Although gold and silver mines were prominent in Part One of my class and textbook, copper is even more vital to creating and maintaining the modern world than precious metals. The modern world could arguably live without gold. But not without copper.

Another advantage of focusing a chapter on copper is that I've already done a bit of research on copper mining in the Americas.
K. Parke
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Clearly, the author performed excellent research and executed an excellent delivery. The information is interesting, disturbing and at times shocking. I ordered this book from the library, but will have to get my own copy for reference and to read again. Once again, Bill Carter takes you with him on the journey of examining the copper mines, the people who run them and those who are at their mercy; he questions whether we are all really at their mercy. What makes this book most interesting, is ...more
Joan Milway
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing

Another gem from journalist/activist Bill Carter, who in my opinion is the best author of our times. In this book he tells the story of copper mining: the history, the politics, the money and our modern world's complete dependence on it. Like no other writer, Carter manages to weave his personal story with the numbers and facts to give us a fascinating and thorough perspective on this metal that runs the world.
Mike Savage
Nov 28, 2013 rated it liked it
A good factual polemic. I like the guy's straightforward prose. Not a lot of fluff. Good description and honest revelatory internal conflict.
Michael Phillips
An amazing book about the world's dependence on copper. I'd say it's Carter's best, but "Fools Rush In" will always be #1 for me.
Oct 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Bill Carter can make any subject interesting! I found this to be insightful, thought-provoking, and incredibly well-written, as I have his other two books.
Apr 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read a lot of books related to mining, typically histories. I also have worked in the mining industry my entire career (including for most of the companies discussed by the author).

I very much enjoyed the perspective of this book especially the first half. The author is struggling with the environmental destruction mining causes, yet battles with the growing societal demands of metals. I felt the author took a more anti-mining approach in the second half of the book; yet I didn't think he
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally read books about commodities (it's too close to my job) but I liked Carter's even, yet personal, approach to both the upside and downside of the metal. It's an eye-opening look at the pervasiveness of the metal, how far the industry is willing to go to find new sources for the metal, how mining the metal affects the environment and its workers and how the market -- how our needs for new cars and gadgets -- keeps this wheel going. I definitely recommend the book
Leslie Remer
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Not usually a fan of non-fiction, this book was extremely easy to read, fast paced, and engaging. Unfortunately it made me sad about the state of the world, and what we're doing to it, and it made me feel a bit helpless. Having said that, it's not any real surprise that we're destoying the planet, so if your curious about one more way we're doing it, read this book!
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book that I never would have pick up on my own, but am really glad I read. A peek into another world and how it intersects with our daily lives. And a great story too!
Sherri Anderson
Everyone should read this book!
Nov 24, 2012 rated it did not like it
Being considered for the 2013 Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism
Jul 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started reading this book to learn more about Arizona, particularly about Bisbee. This book is written by a Bisbee resident who loves living there but is thinking about leaving because of the possibility the mine there may be reopened. His journey to learn about copper mining takes him from Bisbee to the controversial Pebble Mine proposal in untouched Bristol Bay, Alaska--home of the largest salmon run in the world, and to the highly guarded Grasberg Mine in Indonesia, 3rd largest copper mine ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
An excellent book that shines a bright light into the copper mining industry, its reach, and its power. And it does so in an engaging, very readable style, making the book accessible to anyone. Carter writes his own personal connection to copper (the town where he and his young family lived, Bisbee, Arizona, faced the possible reopening of the local copper mine, and the region was studded with similar copper mines) and the story is more anecdotal than statistical. This is both the best and ...more
Jul 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have a big voracious soft spot for books abou the stuff we devour without thinking---Cod, Banana, Salt, Uranium, Stone of Deceit, Where We Eat, and Where We Wear are among my favorite reads. I picked up an old copy of Boom, Bust, Boom> to read during a vacation in Chile, the country that is the largest exporter of copper. I liked the way Bill Carter tells the story of copper, through his personal lens raising a family in Bisbee, Arizona. I also appreciated his even-handed treatment of ...more
Nov 12, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
couldn't recommend to a friend. carter goes on a personal journey in the book, and as a consequence a book is written. but this book is not very informative about what i came here to learn about, which was primarily the world of copper extraction and not the internal world of bill carter's emotions regarding selling his house in bisbee, arizona. as a memoir, it has its own flaws and i would not choose to read another book by this author even if i was well advised that it was actually about the ...more
Douglass Gaking

This is an interesting book about copper, why the mineral is so important, and how its mining affects people and the planet. It is written in a style like travel writing, with a story about his family and their town tying it all together. The writing is decent, but mostly the cases and the big picture of our complex relationship with copper makes this a fascinating read.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent, approachable overview of copper mining, its impact on different communities around the world, and the complications of the issue.
Lisa Ruesch
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend this book - everyone should read it and be aware of copper and its impact on our world and environment.
Dec 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me save you some time. Everyone that fights against the copper industry is good. Everyone involved in the industry, or just about everyone, is evil. That about covers it.

If you want to learn about the author's views on urban vs. rural or indigenous societies then this is your book (he doesn't like traffic. Or Phoenix). If you want to learn about how one family made the decision to move from a small town in Arizona, this is your book. If you want to learn about copper, go elsewhere.

Do not get
Quite terrifying. Carter begins this book with the tale of his backyard garden which normally is nothing important except Carter lived in Bisbee AZ - home to an old copper mine. Carter gets sick, testing is done on the dirt and it is filled with arsenic 100% higher level then what is acceptable thus begins the journey of the book. Copper runs the world. Carter discusses Bisbee (an old mining town) other modern mining towns in Arizona, the Pebble Mine (NO Pebble) in Alaska along with the ...more
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Very well written, just not too sure of the accuracy. If an author gets his facts wrong in one example illustrating his point, does it follow that he may have made other errors in his research? In some cases I hope he's wrong because there's a new sulfide mine in a pristine portion of Michigan's UP. I have been interested in its development and the, supposedly, great lengths that the mine owners have gone to to protect the environment.
Carter says that's impossible!
Sulfide ore waste will always
Dec 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
My words of warning to you all: DO NOT READ THIS BOOK

It is nonfiction and fact after fact after fact!!! Gerrrrrrrrrrrrr
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Bill Carter, a native Californian, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, photographer and journalist. He's the director of the documentary film, MISS SARAJEVO (produced by Bono of the Irish rock band U2) and author of the books FOOLS RUSH IN and RED SUMMER.

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