“Jungle Gold”

By Will DeGrouchy and William L Magee

Published in 1930

Jungle Gold Book




A true story about a failed gold mining attempt in Dutch Guiana, what is now Surinam, in the late 1800s.

An American Industrialist decides to mine for gold in Dutch Guiana.  They bring the latest and greatest technology and skills.   Nature is more powerful than them and they fail.  But they could have made a lot of money out of all the rights they had over the lumber, clay, and other resources that saw as a nuisance.  Great insights into the minds of people, the nature of opportunities, and how life was in the late 1800s.  Important timeless lessons about the nature of gold mining.  Nowadays there is plenty of gold mining in Surinam.  It is just that it is not easy.


  • Gold is not easy to extract
  • Money, goodwill, effort, and technology don’t solve all problems
  • Gold gets people stubborn and inflexible
  • It is easy to miss other things that are easier, and more available, and profitable to exploit than gold
  • In gold mining and many aspects of life, sometimes it is better to just quit if things are not working well
  • It is good to know how to lose and learn from the experience
  • Gold is only valuable according to what can be bought with it
  • Gold is never an end. It is a means


How I Found “Jungle Gold”

I love to read everything that has to do with gold, adventure, travel, business, exploration, and history.  So, every so often I get into a vintage book bookstore and look for my favorite subjects.

I got “Jungle Gold” on sale for around $5 at Powell’s City of Books in Downtown Portland early this year, 2021.  Maybe it was the old-school greenish-blueish color with the tan “Jungle Gold” title that made me notice it.   Anyway, basically, I bought it because it intrigued me.

I read plenty of these old silly adventure books.  They date back to when there was no YouTube or TV.  Radio was a big deal.  So, books were a very prevalent form of entertainment.  At that time people only needed to have a good story to get published.  And they sold plenty of books!  Not only that, but some of these books are still circulating in 2021.

“Jungle Gold” was published in 1930.  As per one of the image captions and other references, I can deduct that the happenings the book describes took place in the last decade of the 1800s.

One of the main reasons that “Jungle Gold” intrigued me was that it was about gold mining.  I buy gold every day.  But I don’t mine for gold.  People bring it to me.  I buy gold out of my very comfortable office in Downtown Portland, OR.  For lunch, I go back to my apartment or a restaurant.  Every night I sleep in a nice bed.  That is a lifestyle very different than that of an actual gold miner or prospector.   Not only that, most likely I do get to see more gold than most gold prospectors.    When someone offers me gold, I know most likely I will get it.  In the case of a prospector, the chances are a lot lower.  Plus, my health is not at risk.

One thing is for sure.  The life of a gold buyer is a lot easier than that of a gold prospector or miner.


Jungle Gold Book
Photo of one of the locomotives of the Marowyne Gold Mining Company after being abandoned for 30 years. Photo take prior to 1930