“An outstanding contribution to our understanding of the history of the mercury industry in California and how it changed the development of California and the American West.”
—Donald L. Hardesty, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno
"This will likely remain the definitive business analysis and social history of California merury mining for years to come."
—Timothy LeCain, The Journal of American History
"A wonderfully eclectic book. . . . Johnston's larger point is well made and indisputable and suggests, as many of the best new mining history studies have done, that we live today in a culture and society shaped by the way we mine our metals and the metals that we mine."
—Kent A Curtis, Western Historical Quarterly
"[Andrew Scott Johnston's] essential and fascinating study of the temporal, spatial, and economic impact of mercury mining on California and the world fills an open pit-scale omission in the history of a state where gold has always enjoyed star billing. . . . Johnston's close study of the industry does much to restore mercury to the crucial role it once played in the world and California's economy and to the shaping of its landscape."
—Gray Brechin, Journal of Historical Geography
"[A] richly detailed portrait of a little-studied industry that will certainly be of interest to historians of nineteenth-century California. It adds a valuable new angle to better-known histories of gold and silver mining in the state, as well as to the broader commercial development of the western United States."
—Jeffrey T. Manuel, Technology and Culture