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B. Traven (1882–1969)

Author of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

132+ Works 3,724 Members 54 Reviews 21 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Arthur Publishing Corp.


Works by B. Traven

The Death Ship (1926) — Author — 610 copies
The Rebellion of the Hanged (1936) 245 copies
The Carreta (1935) 192 copies
Government (1931) 163 copies
March to the Montería (1933) 155 copies
The Bridge in the Jungle (1929) 154 copies
The Cotton-Pickers (1926) 142 copies
The General from the Jungle (1940) 139 copies
The White Rose (1929) 118 copies
Trozas (1936) 113 copies
Macario [short story] (1656) 77 copies
Aslan Norval (1960) 18 copies
Der Banditendoktor (1974) 18 copies
Abenteuergeschichten (1974) 5 copies
Cuentos mexicanos (2000) 3 copies
The Treasures of B.Traven (1980) 3 copies
De verhalen (1987) 3 copies
Meistererzählungen (2001) 3 copies
Der Busch 3 copies
Erzählungen 2 2 copies
Le visiteur du soir (1998) 2 copies
The Man Nobody Knows (1961) 1 copy
İsyan 1 copy
L'Armée des pauvres (2013) 1 copy
Urskog 1 copy
O Tesouro 1 copy
DİNAMİT 1 copy
El puente en la selva (1991) 1 copy
B.Traven 1 copy
Titles 1 copy
Deceivers 1 copy
Originality 1 copy
Indios (1998) 1 copy
Das Frühwerk (1977) 1 copy
In The Fog 1 copy
Romane 1 copy
Friendship 1 copy

Associated Works

The Book of Fantasy (1940) — Contributor — 586 copies
The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction (1996) — Contributor — 233 copies
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [1948 film] (1947) — Original author — 180 copies
The Mystery of B. Traven (1977) — Associated Name — 33 copies
Law in Action: An Anthology of the Law in Literature (1947) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1954 (1954) — Contributor — 4 copies
Die schönsten Hunde-Geschichten (1978) — Contributor — 2 copies
The White Rose [1961 film] — Original book — 1 copy


20th century (56) adventure (53) American fiction (17) American literature (35) anthology (90) B. Traven (20) Belletristik (24) Büchergilde (19) classic (21) crime (23) fantasy (65) fiction (540) first edition (17) German (43) German literature (108) Germany (35) gone (19) Indians (14) Jungle novels (17) literature (120) Mexico (201) mystery (30) narrativa (25) noir (16) novel (94) Novela (20) PB (19) prose (24) pulp (23) read (21) Roman (133) short stories (102) short story (33) skönlitteratur (15) Spanish (17) stories (30) to-read (117) Traven (18) unread (22) western (23)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Traven, B.
Legal name
Feige, Otto (disputed)
Feige, Herrmann Albert Otto Max (disputed)
Other names
Marut, Ret (Pseudonym) (disputed)
Torsvan Croves, Traven (Pseudonym) (disputed)
Croves, Hal (Pseudonym) (disputed)
Maurhut, Richard (Pseudonym) (disputed)
1882/1890 ? (disputed)
Date of death
1969-03-26 (disputed)
Burial location
Chiapas, Mexico (disputed)
Germany (disputed)
Country (for map)
Schwiebus, Brandenburg, Deutschland (disputed)
Świebodzin, Polen (disputed)
Place of death
Mexico City, Mexico (disputed)
Places of residence
Chicago, Illinois, USA (disputed)
Mexico City, Mexico (disputed)
Luján, Rosa Elena (wife) (disputed)
Traven Torsvan
Hal Croves
Esperanza López Mateos
Josef Wieder
Short biography
The author known as B. Traven lived under numerous pseudonyms. German of origin--under one of his names Ret Marut--he ran an illegal printing press and was associated with the Sparticists opposed to the Kaiser during World War 1 and associated also at least somewhat with the Weimar Republic that came after the German collapse in that conflict. When the Weimar itself collapses the story goes that Traven was arrested and sentenced to death by a military kangaroo court. He however managed to escape not only from Germany but from Europe finally settling in with the native population in Southern Mexico. His jungle novels are set in that region and portray the exploitation of the indigenous population. Traven lived under numerous pseudonyms as mentioned above. He believed himself to be under threat of assassination and acted accordingly. There is some reason to believe though that his past was the cause of much neurosis and/or paranoia on his part. Also used Traven Torsvan and Hal Croves.



owlcroft | Aug 17, 2023 |
There are several good reasons to read this. It's a funny first-person yarn by a happy-go-unlucky societal misfit that's reminiscent of Mark Twain. It's a brilliant sendup of governments and bureaucracies. It's a slice of maritime history that will give you a detailed experience of working life aboard an early steam freighter, written in the colorful lingo of the time but without sacrificing readability. It presents a moving psychological portrait of an outcast who never loses spirit to keep going in a cruelly exploitative world. And finally, it casts a revealing light on systems in which we are all complicit that can in the name of efficiency doom good people to non-personhood.

If you haven't read any B. Traven, that's another reason to read this book.
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Cr00 | 9 other reviews | Apr 1, 2023 |
I got this from the library in spanish, without realizing it. I do read and write in Spanish, So I kept it, and figured I'd be able to Wing it. There were so many words that I didn't know, but I didn't want to look up every word I didn't know, because it would have taken me four times as long to read it. I could more or less figure out from the context what those words meant.

Macario is a wood cutter. He has pestered his wife so much that they have 11 children. They are so poor that they go to bed every night hungry. As much as Macario has pestered his wife, she still loves him dearly. His One wish in life is to eat a whole turkey all by himself. His wife saves a penny a day or a penny a week, who knows? After 3 years of this scraping and saving, she buys him a whole turkey for his name day. She cooks it with tenderness and love, and when he wakes up the morning of his name day, she tells him to take it out to the woods where their children won't see it so he can enjoy it in peace and solitude.

He finds a spot in the woods where he can sit down to eat. He begins to separate a leg from the turkey, when he sees a pair of charro boots in front of him. He looks up and sees a fancy dressed man in front of him. this man begs him for a piece of his turkey because he's so hungry. Macario denies him. The man keeps on begging him, saying these woods belong to him and he'll give them to him so he can cut as much wood as he wants to cut. Macario still denies him. The man finally leaves. Macario is just about to pull the leg again to eat it, when a pair of worn sandals appear in front of him. He looks up at the man in front of him and sees a man so poor and so skinny. The man begs him for the leg of turkey. Macario tells him that he just can't give it to him. He has been waiting all his life to eat a whole turkey by himself and he just has to do it. The man pleas with him, telling him how hungry he is as Macario can see for himself. Macario still refuses. Macario once more begins to eat his turkey when another man appears in front of him. This man is the Grim reaper. This man, Macario cannot refuse. So he splits the turkey with him. The two of them have a good time eating and talking for a while in the forest. As a reward for his generosity, the Grim reaper gives Macario a bottle of drops that can cure any illness. But he warns Macario that once the bottle of drops is gone, that's it! There's no more. Also, he tells Macario that if he appears at the head of the patient, he cannot let him be returned to good health. However, if he appears at the foot of the patient, then macario can cure him.

"...Nunca tendré un pavo entero para mí solo. nunca, nunca. Así, pues, qué hacer? bien, compadre, llénase la barriga, yo bien sé lo que es tener hambre. Nunca he tenido otra cosa en mi vida. siéntese, siéntese frente a mi. medio pavo es suyo, gózelo."

Macario cures many people, and becomes rich from the people who give him money for curing their wives or their sons. He builds a nice house for his family, and he has money to send his children to college. But there comes a Day when a big politician ask him to cure his son. He tells him that if he cannot cure his son he will have to burn him on the pyre in the Commons. The trouble is, that the Grim reaper is standing at the head of the bed with the sick child in it. No matter how many times Macario spins the bed around so that the Grim reaper will be at his feet, there the Grim reaper is again at the head. The child dies. Macario takes his fate in his hands, accepting it. But out of pity and gratitude for his sharing his turkey, the Grim reaper lets Macario die before the rich man can burn him on the pyre. Takes his life. Macario Dies happy.
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burritapal | 1 other review | Oct 23, 2022 |
B. Traven had his eyes fully open to opression from capitalists and slavers. He disappeared into Mexico and never came back. His work makes clear that he rejected the "American Christian way" and heaped scorn on it. Well, I'm with him.
This work tells the story of a little settlement close to the pumphouse belonging to the railroad, where a little boy stumbles on bridge and drowns during the Saturday night fiesta, so that nobody notices he has disappeared for a while. All the inhabitants of the settlement, and the villagers from far around, come to help the mother and father with their grief and the burial. It is told with the pen of an artist, whose eyes saw such beauty in the simplest, and poorest, but richest, of lives.… (more)
burritapal | 3 other reviews | Oct 23, 2022 |



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