Book Reviews

Book Reviews: Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City

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

Rock ‘n roll author, Marshall Terrill Writes: “New book charts town’s resilience and mesmerizing history.”

Flagstaff Live, Sept. 11

Elias Butler, in “Words That Work,” gave a very generous page review. He ends by saying: “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.” 

Bill Dedman, co-author of NY Times best seller Empty Mansions—The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune wrote this on his Facebook site about Home Sweet Jerome:

“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: “Home Sweet Jerome: Death and Rebirth of Arizona’s Richest Copper Mining City,” by Diane Sward Rapaport. It’s a story of a mining town’s rise, fall, and rise. Read more at

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. Crossing.

Fascinating StoriesHome 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.” Pat Bean, Story Circle Reviews.

Home Sweet Jerome: 4 & 5-Star Amazon Reviews

“If you want to know about the history of one of the quirkiest and strangest and most fascinating places in this country, you’ve got a great treat in store for you. Priceless”—Bob Swanson, Weed CA, architectural photographer

“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

Delightful, easy to read modern history; two thumbs up! Jerome Arizona once was, and today still is, a remarkable place, nestled high on a mountainside above a beautiful valley, halfway between Phoenix in the desert and the Grand Canyon alpine country. If you have not been one of the millions of tourists who come, and forever remember this unique and beautiful place, you will want to experience Jerome after reading this book. Diane Sward Rapaport tells the history and captures the essence of the Town’s unlikely rebirth in a form that is as readable as a novel but as detailed and researched as a scholarly history. Pick it up and you won’t want to put it down. Diane briefly details, the past glory, subject of two previous books, of the fortunes, the finery, the boom-town vice, and the labors of a very sophisticated mining community that thrived concurrent with Wyatt Earp and Tombstone. Yes, that Old West; only Jerome was larger, richer and more sophisticated. Diane then takes us through the decay after the mines closed, the efforts of the few dozens who stayed on amidst the ruins to preserve and revitalize the town, and finally the ‘hippies’ who came and recreated what remained of it in all its grandeur, a sweet tourist destination and a wonderful place to live (well, when the tourists have gone home.(lol). Punaddict

Couldn’t put it down! I was busy and only meant to read a little bit in order to get a flavor. A few hours later I was wishing I hadn’t been so greedy because I’d finished the book and there was nothing to it but to re-read it. 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

 The 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

Go Visit. This book was a wonderful read. You do not need to be a history buff to enjoy this book. The stories are interesting, funny, and chock full of the history of Jerome. This book will make you want to go to visit the former ghost town. Paul Kaldes, Hilton Head, North Carolina

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, Cottonwood, AZ

NOT just a small history of an interesting place! I live about 15 miles from Jerome. I had always wondered how such an unusual small town came to be what it is today. Rapaport’s book has put the history of Jerome into a delightful context that touches on many different aspects of the town’s life. The text is nicely written, the author is an accomplished wordsmith, but the real reward for me are the many stories of individual’s lives. The town of Jerome has had so very many unique and interesting people, and the tales the author tells give the reader an excellent sense of time and place. Boom to bust and back to boom, the reader is taken from the beginning of the end of Jerome’s mineral boom to the hippie influx to what it is today, a tourism/artists’ enclave destination.

Rapaport knows how to tickle my funny bone. I found myself laughing out loud at times. One account of an elderly woman trying to put out a grass fire with a glass of water is one I will likely not forget for many years. This book is NOT just a small history of an interesting place. It is so much more. It’s as much about the peopling of Jerome as the place itself. I am pleased I discovered this book. It is a worthy read whether or not you live 15 miles away. Michael Pollard, Cottonwood AZ

Home Sweet Jerome. This book was a fast read, and was a delight. Being a person born in AZ, my family visited Jerome over the years. I remember the ghost city signs, and have watched from afar, the changes in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. I got up close and personal with the place and some of the people she writes about in the 90’s. Reading it sure sparked memories of so many other stories and people I’ve known there. To live there, one needs to be quite resourceful. These stories show how important to the life of a community it is to work together. We need to take these examples to heart in the times we are living in now. Margaret Millett, Prescott, AZ

Personal Reviews

“Great book! It fills a big gap in Jerome’s history. I really enjoyed reading it.”  Allen Muma, Jerome Chief of Police, President of the Board of the Jerome Historical Society and owner of the Ghost Town Inn.

You did an excellent job. It is amazing how the honesty and integrity of individuals come out in this book. God bless you.” Anthony Lozano, Clarkdale, Arizona

“The book is well laid out, logical and well researched—a very good read. For me, it brought back so many great memories of all of the different eras I have experienced in my hometown. The town is an integral part of who I am and I was left with a renewed respect for my heritage from Jerome. I think the text will help bring today’s many factions of the town together a little in the future. I think a common thread for all of us in Jerome is respect for the past and a sincere hope for Jerome’s future. You should be proud of the final product. It is an important resource for the generations that will come.” Henry Vincent, CPA, Jerome, AZ.

“With sincere congratulations to the author on a superb addition to the local history.  “Home Sweet Jerome”—What a great book! It has a five star rating on my book reading listing. As I read it over four sittings, each time I felt as if I had been in Jerome.  I have already bought two copies for former Jeromites.  All enjoyed it as much as me.  The 1953 resident name list was a great addition.  Specifically, I was so pleased to read your coverage of Dick Martin and Ferne Goldman.  I call them the godfather and godmother of the reborn post-1953 Jerome.  One was the physical leader and the other was the spiritual force.” Paul Handverger, Verde Valley geologist and author.

(Shorter version posted on Amazon)

Northern Arizona: Stores and Museums Stocking Home Sweet Jerome

Jerome, AZ:  Made in Jerome Pottery, Laughing Mountain, Caduceus Cellars, Connor Hotel, Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum, Designs on You, Rickeldoris Candy, Copper Mountain Antiques, Kate’s Books, Pappilon I

Clarkdale AZ: Adventures Unlimited Books, Clarkdale Historical Society Museum, Tuzigoot National Park, Verde Valley Railroad Train Depot Gift Shop, Pappilon II

Cottonwood, AZ:  Clemenceau Museum

Prescott, AZ:  Peregrine Books, Sharlot Hall Museum Gift Shop

Flagtstaff, AZ: Barnes and Noble, Mountain Sports, Pioneer Museum, Northern Arizona University Bookstore, Museum of Northern Arizona

To Order Personal Copies of Home Sweet Jerome

Shop at local stores—helps the community economy.

If you would like a personally autographed copy, send $20 to Diane Sward Rapaport, Box 398, Hines, Oregon 97738. The book will be mailed via media mail after April 15.  If you want to receive it by priority mail, send $25.00. Price includes book, shipping.  Sorry no credit cards.

To Order Commercial Copies
Phone Johnson Books (Big Earth Publishing)

800-258-5830 or write to sales@bigearthpublishing

Also Available at Amazon