Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hunting Treasure

OK, I admit it. I have hunted treasure. Not with a crazed obsession like some, but over the years I've gone to various purported locations of buried gold or silver and kicked around, looking for whatever I could find. Usually, the only thing I ended up uncovering was evidence that I had not been the first guy poking around in the vicinity.

Beyond having been an occasional if informal seeker of hidden wealth, I have always been a sucker for good treasure tales. I got hooked reading J. Frank Dobie's "Coronado's Children" when I was in the seventh grade, and the passion for this branch of folklore remains. I say "folklore" because as much as I love a good treasure story, I take them as that, just stories.

Given this briefly explained background, I was eager to start reading W.C. Jameson's new memoir, "Treasure Hunter." (Llano: Seven Oaks Publishing Co., $14.95.) And I certainly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone else who likes tales of lost riches and those who have tried to find their own Mother Lode.

Jameson has written 70 books and numerous articles and essays, the bulk of them on treasure. But as he recounts in his new book, he also is a lifelong treasure hunter. He writes that he got involved in his first treasure hunt as a result of stealing strawberries from someone's garden in the El Paso Valley in the 1950s and that only the passage of time has slowed his pursuit of that which glitters or can be polished nicely. Not only has he sought, he says he has actually found tangible treasure.

For 203 pages, Jameson tells of his adventures in Texas and elsewhere. Readers will be disappointed that Jameson admits that he often doesn't use real names and hedges on providing detailed locations and in some cases, actual circumstances, but given that treasure hunting can involve trespassing or tax avoidance (assuming you find something), I suppose that's understandable.

Some of Jameson's books have been fiction, and this book reads as much like a novel as a memoir. One thing for sure, read it and you'll find yourself itching to go treasure hunting.


Anonymous said...

Everyone has an Indiana Jones wannabe on their Christmas list. What a great idea for my armchair adventurer. Thanks!

Shannon said...

As always, your insight is invaluable. Your review convinced me to add this book to my Christmas wish list. There is a little bit of treasure hunter in all of us, most of us have to be of the "arm chair" variety.