Cover image for The bonanza king : John Mackay and the battle over the greatest riches in the American West
The bonanza king : John Mackay and the battle over the greatest riches in the American West
Crouch, Gregory, 1966- author.
First Scribner hardcover edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Scribner, 2018.

Physical Description:
ix, 466 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Traces the rags-to-riches frontier story of Irish immigrant John Mackay, describing how in mid-nineteenth-century Nevada he outmaneuvered the pernicious "Bank Ring" monopoly and thousands of rivals to take control of the history-making Comstock Lode.

"The rags-to-riches frontier tale of an Irish immigrant who outwits, outworks, and outmaneuvers thousands of rivals to take control of Nevada's Comstock Lode, the rich body of gold and silver so immensely valuable--equivalent to more than $600 billion today"--That it changed the destiny of the United States. Born in 1831, John W. Mackay was a penniless Irish immigrant who came of age in New York City, sailed to California during the Gold Rush, and mined without much luck for eight years. When he heard of riches found on the other side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 1859, Mackay abandoned his claim and walked a hundred miles to the Comstock Lode in what is present-day Nevada. Over the course of the next dozen years, Mackay worked his way up from nothing, thwarting the pernicious Bank Ring monopoly to seize control of the most concentrated cache of precious metals ever found on earth, the legendary Big Bonanza, a stupendously rich body of gold and silver ore discovered fifteen hundred feet beneath the streets of Virginia City, the ultimate Old West boomtown. But for the ore to be worth anything, it had to be found, claimed, and successfully extracted, each step requiring enormous risk and the creation of an entirely new industry. Now Gregory Crouch tells Mackay's amazing story--how he extracted the ore from deep underground drove stock market frenzies in San Francisco and launched his wife, whose beginnings were as humble as his own, on a meteoric social career among the finest European aristocrats. When Mackay died in 1902--with a personal fortune equivalent to $40 billion today--front-page obituaries in Europe and the United States hailed him as one of the most admired Americans of the age. Richly illustrated with period photographs and maps, The Bonanza King is a dazzling tour de force, a riveting history of Virginia City, the Comstock Lode, and America itself."--Jacket.
General Note:
Includes index.
A rough Irish lad -- Gilded dreams-and the hard fist of California reality -- The lure of the Washoe diggings -- The rush to Washoe-and an Indian war -- Surrounded by riches-and unable to get them out -- Revving up the boom -- The first boom, frenzied and exuberant -- A tiny sliver of a mine -- The rise of the Bank Ring -- The Irish coup -- The Lode's worst day -- Jones's sick child -- The consolidated Virginia mine -- The strike -- The big bonanza -- The bonanza king -- The cable war -- Twilight.
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