Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations
W.C. Jameson
ISBN-13: 9780963082978


I have great interest in – and respect for – storytellers. There’s something fascinating for me in the act of creating a narrative, something that feels more than just noteworthy, it feels important. Fundamental, even. Part of what fascinates me is the wide spectrum of motivations that lead to storytelling, particularly the creation of fictions. There’s the most basic, the brief lie that is told to gain reward or avoid blame that, when questioned, begins to accrue layer after layer of elaboration until it either crumbles under its own weight or coalesces into a perfect, valuable whole, like an oyster worrying a grain of sand until it creates a pearl. Then there are the more complicated impulses, the desire to entertain, the need to self-aggrandize, the craftsman’s pride of a well wrought narrative, or the ineffable drive to captivate an audience.

There’s a moment in one of the early narratives in W. C. Jameson’s memoir Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations, that brought to mind all of these questions for me. What seemed to be a –  factual inconsistency, let’s say, suddenly had me asking myself whether the author was recounting events from his life or fabricating them. I soon realized, though, that making this distinction didn’t really matter. The stories collected in Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations are, after all, mostly stories of the treasures that got away. Thus, in the tradition of fisherman’s tales, some embellishments are to be expected, even relished. Beyond that, Jameson makes it clear that the activities of professional treasure salvage must be clandestine, both logically and legally, and so he deliberately obfuscates some of the details of his hunts.

Once I moved past questions of fact or fiction and simply allowed myself to experience the stories, Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations was a quick and enjoyable read. Despite the many dangers facing him and his three companions – flash floods, nests of rattlesnakes, and corrupt military personnel among them – Jameson continues to persevere in the pursuit of abandoned mines and lost caches of silver. There is much to admire in this devotion, and much to learn. Jameson’s memoir is worth reading for his final thoughts alone, his message to those of a generation that seems content to experience the world vicariously. Reality, for men like W. C. Jameson, for all of us, is not found on television. It’s found out in the world, surrounded by danger and covered in dirt.


38 thoughts on “Treasure Hunter: Caches, Curses and Deadly Confrontations by W.C. Jameson”

  1. Definitely going to be a fascinating read. I grew up hearing stories of treasure hunters – the Lost Dutchman's Mine, Oak Island, and more.. coupled with Indiana Jones this has pushed me so far as to major in Archaeology. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book and read more about my personal pet interest. 🙂

  2. I was interested in the story from a description of the book. But, your review highlights the lessons we learn from good memoirs and how they can motivate us to look at our lives differently.

  3. I enjoy reading adventurous tales, it doesn't matter to me if they are fact or fiction. They ignite my imagination and remind me there are people out there who throw caution to the wind to get what they are searching for!

  4. I love to read books about people who dare to do the things that so few of us are brave enough to do – to be so driven by a passion that one is willing to risk his life for it is what really being alive must feel like.

  5. This book looks absolutely wonderful and interesting, especially because I am studying to become an Archaeologist! Can't wait to read this!!

  6. Growing up in Florida I knew of ocean treasure hunters (even modern-day ones, like those who found the Atocha), but western stories like this one interest me a lot more now that I live in Colorado! (Good luck, Hanna, with the archaeology career–what fun!) Memoir is such a great genre and I can't wait to read this one…

  7. I have been fascinated by the idea of treasure hunting adventures since reading Treasure Island as a kid. This book sounds like a great read.

  8. I certainly have this on my must read list! I love to collect and read local, historical and biographic true stories and lore that have blurred somewhat into legend and tall tales. Stories such as come from the Oregon trail, the old logging camps and the gold rush to name a few.

  9. This sounds like a perfect book it has history, adventure and learning. Mostly for the reader. Just what every kid who almost grew up will love reading.

  10. I have this book on my TBR list and tried to win it on Librarything giveaway but did not snag it. I was upset because I like to read book about treasures and relics.

  11. I used to read books like this when young. I am sure this would be a great read for me and will be passed to my 11 y o daughter to get her imagination to light up with possibilities.

  12. To all who enter here, let me say that I stumbled on the above review, but I must tell you I am a close friend of W.C. Jameson, and he is a man among men. I feel sorry for all who have not had, nor will ever have the chance to meet this great man, a man who once was rated as the number 2 kick boxer in the country, who, as I did, used to catch rattlesnakes for fun, with his bare hands, and whose voice, as one woman once described it, sounds like honey flowing over boulders. I daresay you will enjoy this book, as you would enjoy the man who wrote it, a great author and wonderful musician and friend.

  13. I think this'll be a great read. Too often we here about all the stuff that's found, but in this I think I'll learn a little bit more about the unending perseverance that one must possess in order to make this their lifestyle. Looking forward to it!

  14. Really looking forward to this read. Exciting but not total fantasy, and maybe I'll finally find out who funds this sort of thing.

  15. Thanks for inviting me to this opportunity to win a copy of what sounds to be a fascinating book. I truly would like to win this one so I can enjoy the adventures with your Treasure Hunters.

  16. Although a great read it is not to be considered a retelling. Approach this book as a collection of short stories like you'd read of old Elmore Leonard Westerns from 1950s Argosy magazines. Jameson's imagination is his true talent and the real riches he finds from his "treasure hunts" are printed on the front cover of the book.

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