The Bonanza King: John Mackay and the Battle over the Greatest Fortune in the American West Audio CD – June 19, 2018
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About the Author
Gregory Crouch grew up in Goleta, California, and graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, with a military history field of study. He completed US Army Airborne and Ranger schools and served as an infantry officer. For five years, he was a senior contributing editor at Climbing, where he focused on writing personality profiles of famous climbers. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his son and fiancé.
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Crouch’s “The Bonanza King” is a superb detailed history of both John Mackay’s rise in America as well as the rise of the American West. San Francisco rises as a major financial and cultural center on the back of the Gold Rush. A stock exchange is established to raise capital. Railroads dot the landscape to move ore. Telegraph lines are strung across the desert. Cities appear out of nowhere. Men with little more than a pick and strong will earn $4 dollars a day whacking solid rock at depth nearly in the dark and in boiling hot temperatures with little ventilation. Accidents abound. Fortunes are made, and lost even faster.
From a cultural and societal standpoint the reader can feel the strong forces shaping America in this book, it is written with smooth prose and includes multitudes of political, historical, and scholarly references throughout the novel. The book, as its subject matter, is of true value...tough to find a hardcover under $30 with more than 300 pages these days. Crouch comes in over 450 pages with a solid, enlightening read that reinforces the value of a strong work ethic.
Lots of cool cameo appearances like Mark Twain and General Ulysses S. Grant, both of whom Mackay had the opportunity to meet in different stages of his life.
During the 20-year boom, production was estimated at $306 million or nearly half a TRILLION in modern economic impact. Mackay’s Con. Virginia and California mines, comprising the subterranean size of about four football fields, produced nearly a third of that total value. Indeed, Mackay once remarked that he “could have rebuilt Trinity Church from the basement to spire top in solid silver.”
Love to see this book made into a movie.
5 Solid Gold Stars!