Little is known for certain about B. Traven. Evidence suggests that he was born Otto Feige in Schlewsig-Holstein and that he escaped a death sentence for his involvement with the anarchist underground in Bavaria. Traven spent most of his adult life in Mexico, where, under various names, he wrote several bestsellers and was an outspoken defender of the rights of Mexico's indigenous people. He was a favorite writer of Albert Einstein and is thought by many critics to have been the inspiration for Benno von Archimboldi, the hero of Roberto Bolaño's award-winning epic 2666. First published in 1935, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is Traven's most famous and enduring work, the dark, savagely ironic, and riveting story of three down-and-out Americans hunting for gold in Sonora.
"Traven's philosophical anarchism, his disengagement, his scorn for regimentation and material goods and his love of individual liberty and the primitive past could, conceivably, command as much reverence form the new generation as does Henry David Thoreau."—William Weber Johnson, Los Angeles Times
"Forceful, pointed, written with precision and clarity, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is as fresh and powerful as at its first appearance."—David W. Read, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"He tells his story better than the best storytellers; delves deeper into characters than most so-called psychological writers. All the virility, terseness and tension that Hemingway worked so hard for . . . seem to be Traven's by birthright."—John Anthony West, Books and Bookmen