A Ghost for the Ages

Bodie Ghost Town Western Novels True West
Bodie: Good Times & Bad by Nicolas Clapp. Photography by Will Furman.

If the old adage that one picture is worth a thousand words is true, then Nicolas Clapp’s Bodie: Good Times & Bad with photography by Will Furman (Sunset Publications, Inc., $22.95) should have clocked in at 80,000 words. However, Clapp provides a succinct but thorough account of the rise and eventual decline of California’s most famous ghost town, now Bodie State Historic Park.

Sharing credit with Clapp, Furman offers numerous beautiful color photographs of Bodie today, augmented by contemporary photos of Bodie in its 1870s-’80s heyday. Separating fact from legend, Clapp lets the reader know the reality of prospecting and mining in a region so isolated that amenities from firewood to window curtains had to be imported. Clapp’s book will provide an enjoyable evening’s reading as well as a fascinating look at Bodie then and now.

Abraham Hoffman, author of Vision or Villainy: Origins of the Owens Valley-Los Angeles Water Controversy.

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