Big Earth, publisher of Home Sweet Jerome, by Diane Sward Rapaport, declared bankruptcy in September 2016, leaving the fate of this acclaimed book in limbo. Diane was able to purchase about 400 books at an on-like auction and sold them to retailers in Jerome that have previously sold the book and to individuals. Few books now remain for sale in Jerome; when I went on Amazon I notice some new copies are selling from upwards of $100. Wow.
Next step? Perhaps put the book in digital format and park the illustrations in a blog site, with per chapter links fromthe digital version. One advantage is that color images can be placed on the blog site.
I’m also thinking of changing the title of the digital version to Home Sweet Jerome: Rescuing a Town from Its Ghosts
Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City is the first modern history of Jerome—a town to stubborn to die. The book tells the story of how it came back to life after mining abandoned it in 1953. This once-fabled city of 15,000 shrank to 124 adults and 87 children. Jerome became a famous ghost town, notorious hippie hideout, and celebrated art and history destination that is visited by one million visitors each year.
For thirty-two years, Diane Sward Rapaport was immersed in Jerome’s social and political life. “I became privy to the fortunes and misfortunes, dreams and ambitions of a quirky patchwork of rebels, heroes, scoundrels, and artists. I heard preposterous stories: the ten-dollar sale of Main Street in the 1950s; the ghost that lived in a gun; the theft of a large amount of money from the Catholic Church; and several 500-plant pot gardens growing in the mountains.” A drug bust in October of 1985 made The New York Times with the headline ‘Ghost Town That Was Restored to Life is Now in Uproar Over Raid for Drugs.’ Among those arrested were two members of Jerome’s Town Council and its Chief of Police.
These stories are part of the mesmerizing history of a town that fought against overwhelming odds to become a celebrated art and history destination. It tells how the rhetoric of mistrust and anger of newcomers by oldtimers was overcome by love, need and hope.
“If you want to know about one of the quirkiest and strangest and most fascinating places in this country, you’ve got a great treat in store for you. Diane’s in-depth work on this over so many years is priceless. She captures, not just the history of the town, but, also an understanding of the human condition when confronted with the weirdness that is Jerome… Makes you want to go there and soak up the vibes. Bob Swanson, photographer.
Clips from Book Reviews: Home Sweet Jerome
Winter 2014: The Journal of Arizona History. Reviewer Mona Lange McCroskey writes, “DIANE RAPAPORT has added an important fragment of Arizona history…a first-class job of documenting Jerome’s history over the past sixty years, beginning in 1953, when the mines closed and most of the population moved away…This recent history is significant because of the changes that transformed Jerome in such a relatively short time from “The World’s Largest Ghost Town” to a thriving borough…Home Sweet Jerome is a delight.”
Get Up and Go Arizona (East Valley Tribune) December 12, 2014. Marshall Terrill Writes: “New book charts town’s resilience and mesmerizing history.” http://eastvalleytribune.com/eedition/page_42427fd9-1903-594e-9f23-e06eb4f4ee05.html#page_a14
Story Circle Book Reviews. Reviewer Pat Bean writes: “Rapaport’s book captures the quirky strategies undertaken by those who stayed so they could continue living in the place they called home…Home Sweet Jerome is a book for all who love to read about real people and their foibles, often in their own words. It’s a book for history buffs who are interested in alternate endings. And it’s a book for people who love landscape and place…The stories are fascinating.”
Flagstaff Live, September 11. Elias Butler, in “Words That Work,” sums up a very generous page review “Rapaport has written an honest, well-researched book that details Jerome’s colorful recent history. . .Her writing may serve as inspiration for other towns in the West that must learn to follow a similar path towards long-term survival.” My face is on the cover!http://flaglive.com/assets/2037/FlagLiveVol.20Issue37/index.html
Bill Dedman, Investigative Reporter, NBC. Diane Sward Rapaport’s book came to national attention on July 12, 2014 when Bill Dedman, co-author of Empty Mansions—The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the spending of a Great American Fortune mentioned her Home Sweet Jerome book: https://www.facebook.com/investigative.reporter “Fans of the Huguette Clark Story will certainly enjoy a new book about the town where her father, W.A. Clark, made his largest profits in copper. . . It’s a story of a mining town’s rise, fall, and rise.” (Dedman)
Dan Engler, Verde Independent, April 2014. First book review: Verde Independent. First book on modern Jerome, AZ: Plugging the “historical gap…meticulously researched and masterfully penned by someone who lived [this history]. And, most importantly, loved it.” Dan Engler, editor. http://verdenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=36&SubSectionID=1193&ArticleID=59880
Midwest Book Review (Marjorie Thelan) “A great inspirational book for small rural communities looking to remake themselves. http://www.midwestbookreview.com/rbw/jun_14.htm#marjorie
5 star Amazon book reviews for Home Sweet Jerome
Couldn’t put it down. “It’s not just that the stories are so well told but that they resonate with so many parts of the human personality. Kindness, greed, paranoia, trust, creativity, hope, despair, death, birth and re-birth…and so much humor. Underneath this is a major and beautifully sung theme of reconstruction, of rebuilding a fallen place to unimagined heights, of unexpected alliances. This theme is so relevant for today in ways political, environmental, societal; and personal. Read it for the fun and history but expect also to be deeply moved and inspired. Also a must read for anyone visiting Jerome. I envy you vacationers who get to know that shining town on the mountain, devouring this book in your cozy bed and breakfast or while enjoying a cocktail, coffee, or ice cream on main street.” Kamala Joy, Austin, Texas
A heart tug. “I kind of expected it to be just about the mines and boring but boy was I surprised! I laughed at some of it, I was shocked at some, and it tugged at my heart”—Sharon Travis, Assistant Controller, Valley Rain, Phoenix, AZ
Fun and Inspiring. “Far beyond the recounting of a history! Rapaport word-paints the grand backgrounds of the desert country, middle-ground facts-and-anecdotes, and the heart-rending details of living in a boom-to-bust-to-reborn community. Those living in towns and villages searching for inspiration in regional repurposing, visitors heading into the Great Southwest, arm-chair travelers doing walk-about by word-of-page, and readers looking for an uplifting, humorous and sometimes harrowing ride on the mountainside tram of humanity will delight in this book. Personal favorite bits: meeting the “Ghosts” of Jerome.” Peg Wallis, Hines, Oregon
A place that’s still haunting. “What an interesting and charismatic portrait of a small town. The author layered history with colorful stories both humerous and touching. Jerome is one of those towns that no one could ever really be from except that a handful of artists and rebels to society actually are. These are their stories. Rich with decay and rebirth, the book explores the facets of a ghost town turned into artist Mecca and finally tourist zoo. It’s compelling as a whole but also intriguing one story at a time. Definitely worth checking out if your familiar with jerome or simply intrigued by the strength of a community living outside the norms of nine to five society.” Nina Louden, Grand Junction, CO
Sincere congratulations to the author. “Thanks so much for writing “Home Sweet Jerome.” It is entertaining, colorful, well written, fun, descriptive, and informative. This book illustrates the power and strength of a diverse group of people as they struggled and came together to save and build a community. I expect to see it in some university course in sociology, history, government, or city planning as required reading. Great book!” Paul Handverger, Clarkdale, AZ (geologist and author)
Truth be told. “Whether you live in Jerome, have visited Jerome, want to visit Jerome, or just enjoy reading about fascinating places, grab a copy of this book. Extensively researched and well-written by long-time resident Diane Rapaport, these previously untold stories of the town and residents unfold seemlessly like a novel. This book is a meaningful contribution to historical writing on Arizona, yet vivid and personal. The author without sacrificing clarity and professionalism weaves her own history into the saga of this unique town, giving it an immediacy missing in many written histories. I have lived in Arizona many years and always wanted to know more about Jerome, wanting to separate fact from fiction. I feel confident that I now know more of the ‘real story’ of Jerome, and I was very entertained while reading as well. Excellent!” Cactus
To order commercial copies for resale:
Contact Diane Rapaport, firstname.lastname@example.org
To order autographed copies from the author:
Send $15, postpaid to Diane Rapaport, Box 398, Hines OR 97738
(Sorry no credit cards)