From Publishers Weekly
A contributing editor and mysteries editor for the Washington Post Book World
, Drabelle brings to life the drama surrounding a large Nevada silver vein called the Comstock Lode, which through the 1860s and '70s yielded $300 million in ore. A central figure is opportunistic Nevada lawyer Big Bill Stewart, who helped develop the lode, bilked investors and occupied center stage of the  litigation pageant over mine claims. Drabelle describes conflicts with Native Americans and the early sightings of silver, sinking shafts, the influx of settlers and fortune seekers, Virginia City's brief heyday as a Babylon of the Great American Desert, while relating the importance of Comstock for American history and culture. It played a role in the launching of the Hearst publishing empire, railroad expansion and technological advances from cable cars to elevators. Mark Twain, who sojourned in Comstock country, mined outcast lingo to create a new direction for frontier humor and American prose. Drabelle introduces a vast cast of colorful characters as he explores how fortunes were won and lost, skillfully recreating the boom-and-bust atmosphere of this period in American history. 8 pages of b&w photos. (July)
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“We know of the Gold Rush, the hunt for El Dorado, even Hernando de Soto's wild search for a passage to China. But in Mile-High Fever, Dennis Drabelle brings us the little-known Silver Rush, told in full technicolor, seasoned with wisdom, and rendered with all history's shadows in tow."--Marie Arana, author of American Chica, Cellophane, and Lima Nights
“It's rare that you find so much shameless misbehavior between two covers! Fraud, larceny, downright theft, untrammeled greed, not to mention fancy women, gambling dens, demented journalists -- all adding up to incredible fun. The Comstock Lode is no longer with us, but you can still visit it in this wonderful, wacked-out book.”--Carolyn See, author of Making a Literary Life