Alas, book reviewers do not swear an oath of truthfulness. Many misuse adjectives such as “classic.” But Bonanzas & Borrascas (Arthur H. Clark Company, $72) by Richard E. Lingenfelter should become a prize winner, if not a best-seller.
This modern classic is clearly the definitive history of our West’s mineral rushes: gold, silver and copper. The volumes are separately titled Gold Lust and Silver Sharks, 1848-1884 and Copper Kings and Stock Frenzies, 1885-1918. Lingenfelter explores objectively the vein of greed that ran through our booms and busts. Incredibly, Lingenfelter is not a historian, but an astrophysicist! Yet his scholarly avocation of history is spectacular, even awe-inspiring. I have been a fan of his writing ever since I reviewed his Death Valley book (merely the best ever written about that fascinating area).
—Richard H. Dillon