The story of the American mining frontier can be traced through the ghost towns that dot the western landscape to this day, from the camps of California’s forty-niners to the twentieth-century ruins in the Nevada desert. These abandoned towns mark an epoch of high adventure, of quick wealth and quicker poverty, of gambling and gunslinging and hell-raising. Those who have seen the Old West movies sometimes think that the legends of the Wild West were invented by screenwriters. The ghost towns remain, and their battered ruins testify that the legends are true. Behind the tall tales is a history where a fortune could be made in a week and lost over the course of an evening.
With a historian’s attention to fact and a novelist’s gift for dramatic storytelling, celebrated science fiction author Robert Silverberg brings these adventures back to life in the rowdy splendor of their heyday in Ghost Towns of the American West. History and travelers’ tales are woven together with clarity and wit to create a lively account of a fascinating era in our history. Lorence Bjorklund’s illustrations, rich in detail, portray the ghost towns in their glory and in their dusty decline.