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The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: A Novel Paperback – March 2, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“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

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809092972
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809092970
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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.Read more ›
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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.
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