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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre Paperback – 5 Jul 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Ishi Press (5 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4871878961
  • ISBN-13: 978-4871878968
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 600,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"Traven's philosophical anarchism, his disengagement, his scorn for regimentation and material goods and his love of individual liberty and the primitive past could, conceivably, command as much reverence form the new generation as does Henry David Thoreau."--William Weber Johnson, "Los Angeles Times"
"He tells his story better than the best storytellers; delves deeper into characters than most so-called psychological writers. All the virility, terseness and tension that Hemingway worked so hard for...seem to be Traven's by birthright."--John Anthony West, "Books and Bookmen"

Traven's philosophical anarchism, his disengagement, his scorn for regimentation and material goods and his love of individual liberty and the primitive past could, conceivably, command as much reverence form the new generation as does Henry David Thoreau. "William Weber Johnson, Los Angeles Times"

He tells his story better than the best storytellers; delves deeper into characters than most so-called psychological writers. All the virility, terseness and tension that Hemingway worked so hard for...seem to be Traven's by birthright. "John Anthony West, Books and Bookmen"" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

This is a story of three down-and-out Americans in Mexico who set out to discover gold in the mountains. It is a social fable involving a group of highly individual characters caught up in a search for treasure. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful and stark parable of greed and lawlessness, with a smidgeon of hope from those who manage, against fate and temptation, to stay true to some kind of moral conscience. Highly recommended!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9a1e6c48) out of 5 stars 46 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97d94918) out of 5 stars a very special piece of writing 3 Feb. 2005
By rsub8a - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have seen and enjoyed the John Huston film of the same name, and believe it to be one of the greatest films ever produced, then it is mandatory to procure and read this book.

This review is written from the perspective of someone who has seen the film at least a half dozen times before reading the novel for the first time. The film is mostly faithful to the novel, so no nasty surprises await those weaned on the film. While less dramatic in some ways, the book provides a better explanation for the motivations of the characters. This necessarily leads to significant, though not unpleasant, changes in some of their fates compared to the film (or perhaps, better said, vice-versa). Some of the more interesting scenes also are expanded, such as the encounter with the bandits at the camp, and more background is provided about the bandits themselves and the efficient and clever way that they are ultimately dealt with by the local people.

Though a little slow going at first, once accustomed to Traven's writing style and well into the meat of the story, the feeling of the realization that a very special experience is in store for you simply builds and builds and continues doing so until the satisfying conclusion of the book is reached. This is a masterpiece, a gourmet treat for the soul, a book to relish during a lazy morning spent in a soft bed, or sitting by a cozy fireplace.

As in many screen adaptations, seemingly ancillary elements were culled for the film. However, those elements, namely the description of the factors which led to the oppression of the native peoples of Mexico, provides a pervasive, unifying theme throughout the novel. This lends an enriching, interesting counterpoint to the story of the central characters.

There is a tiny bit of information given about the mysterious B. Traven, just enough to make you want to learn more. A speculative look at his identity is presented in the extras which are included with the newly-released reissue of the film on DVD.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96992e64) out of 5 stars Introduction to a Genius 17 Mar. 2002
By Randy Keehn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I read this book when I was in the 7th grade. I did so primarily because I was a real Bogart fan way back then. I hadn't seen this particular movie at the time so the book was a whole new adventure for me. And an adventure it was. For years I was convinced that I, too, would eventually go gold mining in Mexico. I would spend hours trying to think about how I would sneak all my gold back into the country. Mind you, I don't believe I missed the point of the story even in my youth. It is a brilliantly told tale of how greed can destroy a man. Sounds simple enough but the beauty of the book lies in our being able to witness the gradual transformation of Fred C. Dobbs from a likeable, down-on-his-luck vagabond to a despicable, paranoid SOB who is obsessed with his gold. It wasn't until years later that I came to appreciate the politics of the book. As a social (not political) commentary it can stand alone. It worked fine for me that way until I had read his Jungle Books and others novels. Traven is an anarchist first and foremost and he articulates his case in all of his books; often in ways that may not seem readily apparent. Looking back at "Treasure" with this perspective, the images of anachism suddenly seem clear. We see three men down on their luck (read that to mean victims of industrialized society-two of the men were just cheated out of their pay after working, indirectly, for an oil company). They form a pact among themselves and go away from society to make their fortune. While away from society all is idyllic as the men work in harmony with each other, obeying the rules that they agreed on for themselves. A crisis arises when one briefly returns to society for supplies. When he returns, he is followed by others who corrupt the idyllic state. Soon after, there are some indications of changes in Dobbs character but the true changes occur when the decision to return to society is made.
Well, I'm no anarchist and you don't have to be either to enjoy this masterpiece. That, by the way, is true about all of Traven's works.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x972f49fc) out of 5 stars Haney's Book Review 17 Dec. 2004
By Will - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This was a exceptional novel written by a brilliant author. B. Traven captivated the readers mind in this exciting tale about a man with no sense of direction in life and finding two companions to travel along with while finding gold; and what greed can do to a persons psychological thinking. Traven sets the scene in Mexico in the early 1930's right about the time of the oil boom. Dobbs is an a American nobody looking for work in Mexico. He finds work but decides not to stay because he was getting cheated. He met the other main character Curtin while working. Dobbs was in his hotel one night and heard a story about a gold hunt from an old man. He told this story to Curtin and their quest began. They took the old man (Howard) with them because of the fact that he had great knowledge of prospecting. Traven does a magnificent job in describing the trials and tribulations the group of 3 had to go through and what they endured. I loved this book because it had so many captivating stages in the story. Some parts could drag on a little bit but when getting past that it was hard to stop reading. I first saw the movie a couple of years ago and was infatuated with the adventure. My father told me we had the book in our dusty book case. I tried reading it but I just couldn't get into it. Probably because I was to young to understand Traven's perspective. This past couple of months I decided to pick it up and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend this daring book about adventure and discovery to anybody who loves adventures.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97d94d50) out of 5 stars Great story about the power and dangers of gold 29 July 2004
By T O'Brien - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a great story from mysterious author, B. Traven, that was later turned into a movie that was as good as the novel. Treasure begins by introducing Dobbs, a WWI veteran now trying to make a living in Mexico doing oddjobs. After countless failed attempts at keeping a job, Dobbs decides to team up with another wayward American, Curtin, and go mining for gold in the mountains of the Sierra Madre. The two men team up with a grizzled old prospector, Howard, and begin mining. This is an excellent novel about the power gold can have over someone. It has the ability to turn a normal man into a greedy, murderous, violent creature who will do anything for money, gold, and power. Highly recommended.

What makes this novel so appealing is B. Traven's writing style. He is very straightforward in telling the story of three men hoping to hit it big. Also, Traven tells several stories about the history of gold in Mexico through the grizzled old prospector, Howard. These asides help to support the idea of the effect of gold and its power over anyone who comes across it. And if you enjoy this book, I highly recommend seeing the John Huston movie starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, and Tim Holt. For a great read that brings the reader into a completely different world, check out The Treasure of the Sierra Madre!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97d94f00) out of 5 stars A world classic 4 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Though it was written more than 70 years ago, Traven's Treasure of Sierra Madre holds up beautifully. Traven was a superlative storyteller--unpretentious, forceful, and possessed of a sophisticated political awareness that puts most contemporary writers to shame. John Huston's '48 film version is extremely good but leaves out Traven's bitter anti-clericism, a key element in the novel. More than a great adventure story, Sierra Madre is a powerful allegory about greed and its deadly allure.
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