The Silverado Squatters

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Other authorsKay Atwood (Illustrator)
Paperback, 1974

Status

Available

Publication

Ashland [Ore.] Lewis Osborne for the Silverado Museum, 1974.

User reviews

LibraryThing member joririchardson
I came across this little book in the dollar bin of a used bookstore, and was intrigued because of the famous author. I had never heard of this particular manuscript.
Basically, it is a simple, concise collection of various portraits of scenery, all located in the California mountains around Napa Valley. The description was charming and beautiful.
However, I found this book pretty dull and hard to get through, despite it being so short (my copy was only 115 pages).
No character development or plot, and after a little while all the descriptions of houses, valleys, and mountains seemed to merge and become all one and the same.
I am not sure when exactly Robert Luis Stevenson wrote this plotless novelette, but perhaps it was one of his earlier works.
If you are looking for a good Stevenson read, I would suggest "Treasure Island" or "The Black Arrow."
This book was pretty boring and extremely repetitive.
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LibraryThing member gbill
This slim volume was really only of interest to me because it detailed Stevenson's wanderings in Northern California, including a Petrified forest and early Napa Valley wineries.

Quotes:
On travel:
"It is very curious, of course, and ancient enough, if that were all. Doubtless, the heart of the geologist beats quicker at the sight; but, for my part, I was mightily unmoved. Sight-seeing is the art of disappointment."

On wine (CA wine has come a long way since 1883):
"A nice point in human history falls to be decided by Californian and Australian wines. Wine in California is still in the experimental stage. ... The smack of Californian earth shall linger on the palate of your grandson."

On Jews and the power of money to make one free:
"Take them for all in all, few people have done my heart more good; they seemed so throroughly entitled to happines, and to enjoy it in so large a measure and so free from after-thought; almost they persuaded me to be a Jew. There was, indeeed, a chink of money in their talk. They particularly commended people who were well to do. 'He don't care - ain't it?' was their highest word of commendation to an individual fate; and here I seemed to grasp the root of their philosophy - it was to be free from care, free to make these Sunday wanderings, that they so eagerly pursued after wealth; and all this carefulness was to be careless."

On capitalism:
"The village usurer is not so sad a feature of humanity and human progress as the millionaire manufacturer, fattening on the toil and loss of thousands..."
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
This is a recounting of the time Robert Louis Stevenson spent in the hills of Calistoga county trying to recover from his illness. He and his wife (and her two mostly grown sons) spent their honeymoon of three months in an old abandoned mining office/bunkhouse. I would call it camping, considering the condition the place was in, he called it squatting because they didn't have permission from the absentee owner, nor were they paying rent.

Much of the writing is picturesque, especially if you are familiar with the area. He pokes light fun at the situation, the difficulties, the people around him and himself. Be ready for some racial slurs and stereotyping as was sadly typical of the times. Still, his observations of natural history, human nature and life in general, along with his lovely turn of phrase, make this an interesting small episode in California history.
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