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Gold Rush – how I found, lost & made a fortune

gfyukIt was a pleasure to meet geologist and former parachute regiment solider Jim Richards when he delivered a lecture to the North West Regional Group of the Geological Society on this, an autobiography of his career in gold mining and an epic geological tale of rocks, survival and endurance at the most inhospitable ends of the Earth. 

This is a no-holds-barred account of life at the sharp end of the exploration industry and, much like the man himself, it comes across as genuine and honest.  The people are real, and the situations Jim vividly describes are as raw and real as they can get.

Jim tackles the thorny issue of providing accounts of events in which real people do not always display themselves in the best light with tact and diplomacy, and isn’t afraid to share his own mistakes.  As a former gold miner myself, it rang true on so many levels and brought back many happy (and somewhat dusty) memories of rock logging.  There is plenty of geological description in here, and so much to be learnt from Jim’s long field experience.  

Along with thoroughly entertaining and informative anecdotes of gold, diamonds, oil, iron and more gold, there’s a whole lot of guns, greed, sex, terrorism, corruption, disease and politics thrown in to boot.  A representative of seemingly every corner of the animal kingdom has a go at him at one time or another, providing nightmarish encounters with rats, vampire bats, mosquitos, leeches, snakes, and perhaps the deadliest animal of all: the investment banker. 

Jim’s geological knowledge and his belief in his dream pull him through: he never gives up, and it is his tenacity of spirit and enthusiasm for geology that bring forth a tale of triumph in the face of adversity, the true possibilities of human achievement in the worst of circumstances and with the smallest of resources, for those who dare to walk the path.  There’s many genuine laugh-out-loud moments too.  The encounter with Mitch The Canadian’s handover notes had all of us rolling in the aisles. 

An absolute must-read for any aspiring exploration geologist, it’s also thoroughly digestible for non-geologists and a handy sized and nicely bound book complete with an interesting set of colour photo illustrations.  If you like to read about genuine adventure and survival, then this is for you.  AND it has rocks in it.  What more could one ask? 

Reviewed by Catherine Kenny

GOLD RUSH - HOW I FOUND, LOST AND MADE A FORTUNE by JIM RICHARDS, 2016. Published by: September Publishing  363pp ISBN: 9781910463369 List Price: £10.99. W: