This is a great book.
Johnny Waldorf grew up in Virginia City during the 1870’s and 1880’s, from the time he was three years old until he ran away at age sixteen to the sea he had always dreamt of. He didn’t find his fortune there, but eventually made his mark with a successful career in journalism.
In A Kid on the Comstock, we see the somewhat tamed mining camp of Virginia City through the eyes of a boy, with his wonder, amazement, and wildness. Johnny ran with a wild group of kids, but at that time, most of the kids had to be a little wild just to survive their surroundings. It was a harsh time and place to be a boy, but it was also a great time as we see in Johnny’s recollections.
Consider the mines, freight trains, the Chinese cemetery, swimming in the old pond, celebrating the Fourth of July, rummaging about the town dumps, sneaking into the circus, talking with Indians, watching fires destroy most of the town. Johnny’s tales are an extraordinary read.
Throw in a bunch of old-time photographs and illustrations, as well as original new research by Waldorf’s daughter, and A Kid on the Comstock turns out to be a fascinating portrait of one of the greatest boomtowns in the history of the West.--E. K.