The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a adventure novel by bilingual German author B. Traven, whose identity remains unknown. In the book, two destitute. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. A CULT MASTERPIECE—THE ADVENTURE NOVEL. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre: A Novel [B. Traven] on terney.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A CULT MASTERPIECE―THE ADVENTURE.
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The treasure of the Sierra Madre, ([Modern Library books, ]) [B Traven] on terney.info *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. New York: Modern Library. The Treasure of Sierra Madre is the literary masterpiece for America's pop mythology of the Wild West. A savagely ironic novel, it follows the rugged adventure of. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a novel by the mysterious German- English bilingual author B. Traven, in which two penurious Americans of the s.
For the first time in months, they begin to think of their personal futures. Curtin makes a final resupply trip to the local village. He takes a few hides at usual to sell at the dry goods store; this, to keep up the pretense he is a hunter. Curtin is accosted by a friendly American newcomer visiting the store. The man insinuates that there is much gold in the nearby mountains; Curtin emphatically denies it. The stranger guesses the significance of Curtin's aloofness and trails him into the mountain wilderness.
Without warning, the intruder steps silently into their fire circle. The prospectors are momentarily taken off guard by his arrival. Dobbs recovers, and emphatically tells the man to clear out, but the stranger stands his ground. The stranger bluntly informs them the area is unfit for commercial hunting — rather, they are sitting on a gold field.
The prospectors return to their tent intensely suspicious of the man's purpose. They permit him to stay the night. The stranger introduces himself as Robert W.
When Howard goes to check the burros, he spots mounted men in the distance approaching the encampment. They are not Mexican soldiers or police. Lacuad warns the miners that the horsemen are dangerous bandits, led by the notorious Gold Hat.
Lacuad assures his companions that their lives are in imminent danger. As they anxiously watch the bandits slowly ascend the trail, Lacuad relates to them the story of Gold Hat, conveyed to him by a local nobleman, don Genaro Montereal, while visiting his estate the previous week. At nightfall, twenty mestizos, dressed in peasant garb, silently board the train with prepaid tickets.
The second-class carriages are crowded with working class families with children; the first-class Pullman cars carry tourists, officials and merchants. A small detachment of federal troopers occupies another car.
The mestizos, wrapped in ponchos, take up positions in the standing room only cars. Long live our King Jesus! At this signal, the mestizos withdraw concealed firearms and begin shooting at the occupants: men, woman and children are indiscriminately slaughtered. The soldiers, caught by surprise, are shot down before then can retrieve their rifles. With the passengers subdued, the looting begins.
Despair and madness prevail among the survivors, as they are stripped of their possessions. Stopping the train, the bandits and their confederates waiting along the tracks, carry away the loot before setting all the carriages on fire. A rescue train is sent and the outlaws are driven away.
The federal military forces in the adjoining states are mobilized to pursue the perpetrators. Two catholic priests are apprehended and admit to directing the attack on the train. The bandits, or rebels, as the case may be, are poor and politically ignorant agrarians who perform these deeds in struggle between the Catholic Church and the government of Mexico. Led by junior officers, the detachments are deployed to track down and liquidate the or more participants in the train assault.
The military modus operandi consists of making sweeps through remote villages for transient peasants. The luckless men are detained and questioned as to their residence and their clothing is searched. If contraband is found that does not match their social status or gender, they are assumed to be bandits. In the post-Mexican Revolution period of the s, possession of a firearm is not grounds for suspicion, as the peasant soldiers in the conflict retained their rifles after the fighting.
The detainees are automatically assumed to be desperados, guilt of capital crimes. They are immediately put to death by the soldiers, after diggings their own graves. Lacaud concludes his report, informing his cohorts that the approaching bandits, led by Gold Hat, are the last surviving members of the outlaws that had joined in the deadly train assault.
The men prepare themselves for a desperate struggle. The prospectors take up positions in a trench-like ravine with a view of the campsite, fortifying it like a military bunker. Howard assumes command with the consent of the others and holds a war council. Gold Hat and his men dismount and enter the campsite on foot, expecting to encounter only a lone hunter.
Failing to find him, they quarrel and consider returning to the village. The prospectors silently observe these developments from their hidden defenses. As the man bandit group prepare to spend the night, one member explores the vicinity and discovers Curtin in the trench. Curtin warns him away, and the bandit alerts his companions.
Gold Hat approaches Curtin and identifies his cohorts as policia montada mounted police , searching for outlaws who robbed a train. Curtin in turn demands that they show their police badges. Gold Hat, affronted, threatens Curtin with arrest for hunting without a license and possessing unregistered firearms.
Curtin brandishes his rifle and the bandits determine to lay siege to his foxhole; they prefer to take him alive so as to torture him to death for entertainment. The methods they will use matches the iconography of Catholic Church and the practice of torture by the Inquisition.
The bandits wear the icons of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, believing they will protect them in their endeavors. Gold Hat tries to lure Curtin from his foxhole with promises of a gold watch.
Rebutted, the outlaws construct movable barriers to assault the trench. Before they can deploy them, a company of genuine mounted police, alerted by villagers, appear and pursue Gold Hat and his gang as they flee the encampment.
They leave him to his fate. Howard directs the dismantling of their mine so as to leave no trace of its existence. Howard warns his cohorts that the next phase — transferring the gold dust back to civilization — may be the riskiest phase and they become preoccupied with its challenges.
Howard illustrates these dangers in his tale of the Dona Maria Mine. The chief, as instructed, makes a mile pilgrimage on foot to Mexico City in company with his wife and son, carrying all his money and jewelry as an offering to the Saint.
The family travels the final three miles on their knees to the holy site of Cerrito de Tepeyac Hill of Tepeyac , saying Ave Marias as they go. For three days, the chief and his dependents pray before the icons, without food or water. Nothing happens. After seven more days, encouraged by the clergy, the chief offers to transfer his entire estate to the church to obtain eyesight for his son. No miracle takes place. Exasperated, he renounces his faith in the Virgin. The priests accuse him of blasphemy and warn that he may be tortured by a court of the holy Inquisition.
The fathers of the church explain that the Virgin has withheld her intervention because the chief has failed to perform the requisite number of Ave Marias, or perhaps took a sip of water in violation of the fast. He admits as much, and departs in disgust. The two men strike a quid pro quo: if the doctor provides his son with sight, the chief will reveal the location of a rich gold and silver mine. A caveat allows the doctor to reverse the effects of the operation if the mine turns out to be a hoax.
Spurred by the promise of great riches, Don Manuel fully succeeds in giving the boy sight. Aguila Bravo is good for his word. The location of the mine, long concealed by his ancestors despite cruel torture by Spanish invaders, is provided to Don Manuel for his personal enrichment. The mine proves to be rich in silver, less so in gold.
Cunningly, Don Manuel transfers only small shipments to Mexico City to download food and provisions. He is fearful that church leaders might spread rumors that he doubted the miracle of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, torture him and confiscate his property.
The staggering wealth of the mine is thus concealed; the bulk of the treasure is buried at the diggings. Don Manuel abuses his Indian laborers, and in time, they rebel. His wife, Dona Maria, escapes, but her husband is killed in the uprising.
The Indians take no further interest in the mine and return to their homes.
The widow Dona Maria goes to bury her deceased spouse. She finds the hidden stockpiles of silver untouched. Despite possessing this fortune, she determines to amass enough to become the richest woman on Earth.
A daughter of impoverished city dwellers, she dreams of marrying into Spanish nobility of the highest rank. She reopens the mine, and makes generous donations to the Church so as to insure they do not molest the operations. The mine, meanwhile, continues to disgorge huge amounts of rich ore. At the remote diggings, she endures privations better than her husband, and handles her poorly paid employee adroitly. She adopts the manners of a hard-drinking wench, but impresses the visiting monks with her devoutness to the church.
Traven's novel The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a suspenseful, propulsive can't-put-it-down adventure story about three down-and-out Americans who trek deep into the Mexican mountains on a doomed search for gold. It's a terrific read. But it's more than just a page-turner; the work recasts the classic American adventure story as a mythic battle between reason and madness.
It stands as one of the greatest novels about the United States ever written by a foreigner, right up there with Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita. But above all else, Traven's masterpiece is the rare pop novel that had the heart of a thriller and the soul of a social commentary.
When Treasure was published in Germany, it quickly became a sensation. So, too, did its up-and-coming author -a remarkable fact considering that no one had the slightest idea who he was. Traven was a nom de plum, one of the most successful in literary history. The author's true identity, nationality, and background have been hotly contested from the start, a literary guessing game surpassed only by the who-wrote-Shakespeare controversy.
For decades, the tantalizing mystery, along with John Huston's extraordinary Hollywood adaptation in , overshadowed the book itself. But in recent years, more and more scholars and everyday readers have rediscovered the original text.
Treasure's plot is deceptively simple. Dobbs and Curtin are two chronically unemployed laborers who are stuck in Mexico, staying in filthy rooming houses and begging for a few centavos for food. When their job prospects dwindle from dismal to nonexistent, the pair join up with Howard, a grizzled old prospector, in the hope of striking gold in the Sierra Madre mountains.
The three men head to a remote area where they find a rich deposit of gold dust, and that's when the story really gets moving. As the bags of gold pile up, so do their suspicions of one another. In such deserted country, what's to stop one partner from bumping off the other two and keeping the whole haul for himself? It's a scenario that's been played out in scores of heist stories before and since, but Traven does a remarkable job of depicting the prospectors' collective slide into distrust and then outright paranoia.
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