Thursday, July 29, 2021

Annotated edition of "The Treasure of the Superstition Mountains"

We recently moseyed over to the library in our new town, the very nice Florence Community Library. I got my myself a library card, and the first book I checked out was 1973's The Treasure of the Superstition Mountains.

The Superstitions are a nearby scenic mountain range, located to the north of us, and to the east of Phoenix. (Check out my mediocre snapshot at the bottom of the post.) As with many mountainous regions of the American Southwest, there are legends that there's "lost gold" to be found within, hence the "Treasure."

This book was written by Gary Jennings (1928-1999), who had a quirky and successful career as an author, mostly of historical fiction. The Treasure of the Superstition Mountains came toward the beginning of his writing career. It seems to have been well-received. It has 4.1 stars (out of 5) from Amazon reviewers. In a review that appeared in The Kansas City Times in January 1974, Rudolph Umland wrote:
"'The Treasure of the Superstition Mountains' might well be the definitive book on the Lost Dutchman mine. It gives a description of the history of the entire area of the Superstitions and of the towns around. Gary Jennings has crammed all the facts and all the legends known about the mountains and the mine into his book. He not only spent long hours poring over everything written about the mountains and the mine but made excursions by foot and horseback over much of the terrain."
One reviewer, however, wasn't very impressed with Jennings' book. And that's the unknown critic who wrote marginalia on the pages of the copy I checked out of the Florence Community Library. I decided to take snapshots of his comments and snarkiness for posterity, so here we go...

Page 72. (Ironically, the marginalia is wrong, too. It's javelinas.)
Page 81. (A disagreement over chollas.)
Page 84. ("Completely unsupported claim")
Page 85. ("unsupported," with regard to the Hohokam)
Page 87. ("600 years is not long enough for anything to petrify")
Page 95. ("Not true! If that were true they would still be fighting!")
Page 109. ("You are really reaching Jennings." Note: I agree.)
Page 118. ("Oh come on!")
Page 126. ("So what!")
Page 133. ("Not true! Artifacts can still be found there.")
Page 155. ("Not true!")
Page 156. ("Guessing?)
Page 224. ("Probably very few")
By the way, please do not write in library books. If you want to write marginalia or sonnets or grocery lists in your own books, that's fine. But I do not condone defacing library books.

My snapshot of the Superstitions...
Taken from the car on June 28, 2021, near Gold Canyon, Arizona.

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