Synopses & Reviews
In following the time-honored journalistic tenet that the best stories are the ones you find in your own backyard, Bill Carter begins this account of the all-pervasive presence of copper in our lives and its cost on our health, economy, and our environment with a simple personal discovery: the presence of arsenic from leftover mine tailings in his backyard garden in the former copper mining town of Bisbee, Arizona. This revelation led him on a quest to find out as much as possible about the mineral copper, its wonderful and mysterious properties, its history in human evolution, and its omnipresence in contemporary life, being found in everything from toothpaste to cellphones.
Carter explores several mining areas, past, present, and projected both in the United States and around the world, and details the environmental and health implications involved in open-surface extraction of copper ore. From boardrooms of investors in London to the mountains of Indonesia, Carter connects the dots from his humble backyard garden to the CEOs of the multibillion-dollar global copper industry, confronting a resource that is so vital yet which has the potential to cause horrendous and irrevocable damage to our planet and ourselves.
"Bill Carter has extracted something that remains all but unnoticed by most people — copper — and told and incredible story about this amazing metal. Boom, Bust, Boom is the best sort of journalism: beautifully written, rich in detail, and impossible to ignore. I particularly love how Carter wove a personal story into a topic of global scope. I know, as a writer, how hard that is to pull off, and as a reader I am always amazed when someone does. It is a superb book."
Author of The Perfect Storm and War
"Bill Carter's new book is utterly engaging. I want to use the words fabulous and hearty. We often think we know the world, but then we read a book that tells us we didn't. Carter is a determined investigative journalist and shows the grave dangers the copper industry carelessly exposes us to. A necessary read for thinking Americans."
Author of Legends of the Fall and Brown Dog
"Copper is the curse of the Southwest. Bill Carter's blazing book takes us to the crime scene where our lust for things murders the Earth. Time to kill the cell phone, leave Twitter to the twits, and listen up."
Author of Murder City
"Boom, Bust, Boom, is Carter's powerful narrative about his pursuit of 'the metal that runs the world' and how far we will go to get it. Carter is not a preacher of environmentalism nor a corporate apologist. He just wants to understand."
"Carter's scope is large, but his storytelling technique is up-close and personal. In the end, the author decided to move his family out of his beloved Bisbee to escape the threat of a reopened copper mine, but he makes it abundantly clear that there is, for our modern society, no escape from dependence on copper. A well-told, fact-filled story written with a touch of fury and a dash of regret."
"Bill Carter's Boom, Bust, Boom is an idiosyncratic but compelling examination of the mining of copper, which is vital to modern communications, but at a daunting environmental cost."
"Face to face with environmental risk, Mr. Carter is determined to learn more about copper. He quickly stumbled upon a paradox: Copper mining may be an environmental disaster, leaving behind mountains of waste laced with heavy metals and polluting rivers with the remains of the chemicals used to separate copper from ore, but it is also an environmental necessity."
Wall Street Journal
About the Author
Bill Carter is a freelance journalist, filmmaker, photographer and the author of two previous books, Fools Rush In
and Red Summer
. His articles have been published in numerous publications, including Men's Journal
, and Rolling Stone
. He directed the award-winning documentary, Miss Sarajevo
. He lives in Sedona, Arizona.
Luis Alberto Urrea is a professor of writing at the University of Illinois-Chicago and the author of the bestselling novel The Hummingbird's Daughter and the nonfiction book, The Devil's Highway. He lives in Chicago.