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The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream

Brands, H.W.

Published by U.S.A.: Doubleday, 2002
ISBN 10: 0385502168 / ISBN 13: 9780385502160
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Title: The Age of Gold: The California Gold Rush ...

Publisher: U.S.A.: Doubleday

Publication Date: 2002

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

Edition: 1st Edition..

Description:

FIRST PRINTING 4826 Language: eng Language: eng. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-14767590818

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Book ratings provided by GoodReads:
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Synopsis: By the Author of the Bestselling Pulitzer Prize Finalist THE FIRST AMERICAN

THEY WENT WEST TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES AND IN THE BARGAIN THEY CHANGED THE WORLD. THIS IS THE EXTRAORDINARY STORY OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE GOLD RUSH.

When gold was first discovered on the American River above Sutter's Fort in January 1848, California was sparsely populated frontier territory not yet ceded to the United States from Mexixo. The discovery triggered a massive influx as hundreds of thousands of people scrambled to California in search of riches, braving dangerous journeys across the Pacific, around Cape Horn, and through the Isthmus of Panama, as well as across America's vast, unsettled wilderness. Cities sprang up overnight, in response to the demand for supplies and services of all kinds. By 1850, California had become a state -- the fastest journey to statehood in U.S. history. It had also become a symbol of what America stood for and of where it was going.

In The Age of Gold, H. W. Brands explores the far-reaching implications of this pivotal point in U.S. history, weaving the politics of the times with the gripping stories of individuals that displays both the best and the worse of the American character. He discusses the national issues that exploded around the ratification of California's statehood, hastening the clouds that would lead to the Civil War. He tells the stories of the great fortunes made by such memorable figures as John and Jessie Fremont, Leland Stanford and George Hearst -- and of great fortunes lost by hundreds now forgotten by history. And he reveals the profound effect of the Gold Rush on the way Americans viewed their destinies, as the Puritan ethic of hard work and the gradual accumulation of worldly riches gave way to the notion of getting rich quickly.

Review: Texas A&M University professor H.W. Brands enhances his reputation as one of America's great popular historians with The Age of Gold, which tells the story of the California gold rush through rollicking narrative and intelligent analysis. "James Marshall's discovery of gold at Coloma [in 1848] turned out to be a seminal event in history, one of those rare moments that divide human existence into before and after," he writes. It launched "the most astonishing mass movement of people since the Crusades" and "helped initiate the modern era of American economic development." Brands describes how thousands of people from all over the world hazarded the journey, faced the scientific challenge of extracting precious metal from the earth, and finally struggled "to sink roots" where so many came merely "to strip the land." This book is something of a departure for Brands, who most recently has written biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Theodore Roosevelt (both of them excellent). Yet he tackles this new topic with confidence, telling dozens of stories about John Fremont, Leland Stanford, and less famous forty-niners. He concludes by describing why these tales have a national and even global importance. The Age of Gold is magnificent in its sweep, and not to be missed by fans of American history. --John Miller

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