New Book Recalls Virginia City’s 19th Century “Lust for Lucre”

Nicholas ClappMay 4, 2016 – San Diego – Travel through time and the Devil’s Gate with the new book from acclaimed author and filmmaker Nicholas Clapp. Virginia City: To Dance with the Devil was published by Sunbelt Publications in January of this year and continues to gain recognition as the ever-popular speaker, Nicholas Clapp, visits audiences across the state, inviting readers to share the origins of infamy in the beloved weekend destination of Virginia City.

Virginia City: To Dance with the Devil is an amazing account of the history of Virginia City, told through colorful stories, amusing anecdotes, and over 300 images. It recollects a penniless Irish miner, who in a few short years amassed a fortune greater than any of America’s robber barons, simply by dint of hard work and intuition. It depicts to-be-famous writer Mark Twain discovering and honing his comic voice, and notorious “badman” Sam Brown lined with lead, with a coroner’s jury concluding, “It served him right.” It remembers the Virginia City mines, where men plunged into the scalding, hazardous heart of the earth, tantamount to partnering with hell’s dread demon, so that they could enjoy five Shakespeare companies performing at once, food rivaling Delmonico’s in New York, and frocks ordered directly from Paris to be worn in the barren, windswept, middle of nowhere. The twenty turbulent Bonanza years of Virginia City are celebrated in this book by a man renowned for his keen ability to conjure a vivid story from abstract history.

Documentary filmmaker and award-winning author Nicholas Clapp has explored, filmed, and written about deserts throughout the world. In Arabia, he led an expedition that discovered and unearthed the lost city of Ubar, celebrated in both The Bible and Arabian Nights. Closer to home, he has written about and roamed the deserts of the American West, with particular interest in the history of mining camps. His grandfather Daniel was a miner and when Clapp was 12, he tagged along on a shift working at the 800-foot level in the same mine where his grandfather later died in an underground accident. His great uncle George was the proprietor of a minstrel show touring mining camps, and Hannah Clapp was an 1850s Nevada schoolmarm. It was only natural then, that Clapp, along with his wife Bonnie, was drawn to Virginia City and a quest to recount and graphically illustrate the day-in, day-out story—and excitement—of a ramshackle desert settlement destined in its boom years to become the richest place on earth.

The month of May will see Clapp presenting in various Nevada locations, including:

Incline Village Library

(Incline Village, NV)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

6:30 PM

Verdi History Preservation Society

(Verdi, NV)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

7:00 PM

Sierra View Library

(Reno, NV)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

4:30 PM

St. Mary’s Art Center

(Virginia City)

Friday, May 20, 2016

6:30 PM

Downtown Reno Library

(Reno, NV)

Sunday May 22, 2016

3:30 PM

Churchill County Museum

(Fallon, NV )

Thursday, May 26, 2016

6:30 PM

Nevada Historical Society

(Reno, NV)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

1:00 – 2:30 PM

Spanish Springs Library

(Sparks, NV)

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

6:00 PM

Nevada State Museum

(Las Vegas, NV)

Sunday, May 28, 2016

2:00-4:00 PM

Virginia CityFor further event details, visit  To arrange for a book review, event announcement, or author interview, please contact Sunbelt Publication’s Kara Murphy.