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The Silverado Squatters   By: (1850-1894)

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The Silverado Squatters by Robert Louis Stevenson is a captivating and insightful memoir that takes readers on a journey to the rugged landscape of California's Silverado region. Stevenson's impeccable storytelling and vivid descriptions allow readers to fully immerse themselves in the beauty and challenges of this unconventional lifestyle.

The book chronicles Stevenson's time spent living in a crude, makeshift cabin with his new wife, Fanny. Their decision to live in such modest conditions was driven by Stevenson's deteriorating health and their need for a change of scenery. The couple's pursuit of a healthier environment is laced with adventures, treacherous encounters, and heartwarming moments.

One of the standout features of this memoir is Stevenson's ability to capture the essence of the Silverado region. His descriptions of the towering pines, rugged terrain, and star-filled sky transport readers to this remote area. Through his evocative prose, readers can almost feel the crisp mountain air, smell the aroma of pine needles, and hear the whisper of the wind through the trees.

Stevenson also explores the challenges of their isolated lifestyle, from struggles with daily essentials like food and water to encounters with unwelcome visitors like bears. His writing delves into the physical and emotional toll of living in such harsh conditions, providing a deep understanding of the sacrifices made for the pursuit of a simpler, healthier existence.

Furthermore, a unique aspect of The Silverado Squatters is its portrayal of the close-knit community of fellow squatters in the area. Stevenson showcases the camaraderie, solidarity, and resourcefulness of these individuals who, like him, have chosen to buck societal norms and find solace in the wild beauty of nature. Their stories add depth and richness to the memoir, further emphasizing the allure of this unorthodox lifestyle.

Despite its relatively short length, this memoir manages to captivate readers with its engaging narrative and memorable characters. Stevenson's keen eye for detail and his ability to convey the essence of the Silverado region make The Silverado Squatters a truly immersive reading experience.

Overall, The Silverado Squatters is a captivating memoir that offers readers a unique glimpse into the rugged beauty of California's Silverado region. Stevenson's vivid descriptions, engaging storytelling, and his ability to capture the challenges and rewards of an unconventional lifestyle make this a must-read for lovers of memoirs and nature enthusiasts alike.

First Page:


The scene of this little book is on a high mountain. There are, indeed, many higher; there are many of a nobler outline. It is no place of pilgrimage for the summary globe trotter; but to one who lives upon its sides, Mount Saint Helena soon becomes a centre of interest. It is the Mont Blanc of one section of the Californian Coast Range, none of its near neighbours rising to one half its altitude. It looks down on much green, intricate country. It feeds in the spring time many splashing brooks. From its summit you must have an excellent lesson of geography: seeing, to the south, San Francisco Bay, with Tamalpais on the one hand and Monte Diablo on the other; to the west and thirty miles away, the open ocean; eastward, across the corn lands and thick tule swamps of Sacramento Valley, to where the Central Pacific railroad begins to climb the sides of the Sierras; and northward, for what I know, the white head of Shasta looking down on Oregon. Three counties, Napa County, Lake County, and Sonoma County, march across its cliffy shoulders. Its naked peak stands nearly four thousand five hundred feet above the sea; its sides are fringed with forest; and the soil, where it is bare, glows warm with cinnabar.

Life in its shadow goes rustically forward. Bucks, and bears, and rattle snakes, and former mining operations, are the staple of men's talk... Continue reading book >>

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