H W Brands Age of Gold

ISBN 13: 9780099476566

Age of Gold

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9780099476566: Age of Gold

The discovery of gold by a team of Mormon mill workers in 1848 sparked a frenzy that shook the world. People swarmed to California from as far as China and Australia. They came from England and France, from Ireland and Chile, leaving behind their families and everything they owned in the hope of making their fortunes in the new world. They came by ship and overland, braving Tierra del Fuego and the pestilences of Panama, lured by the promise of gold. In a spellbinding narrative that spans several continents, Brands brings the fervour and excitement of the gold rush vividly to life. The Age of Gold is narrative history at its best -- the astonishing tale of one of the most extraordinary speculative frenzies in history, told by a master historian.

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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

From the Back Cover:

“A fine, robust telling of one of the greatest adventure stories in history.”
– David McCullough, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of John Adams

“The unforgettable story of... the Gold Rush—big, brassy, raucous... H.W. Brands tells it all—and more. Terrific.”
– Jay Winik, author of April 1865

“A gripping narrative account of the mad rush for California riches that forever changed America... A real page-turner.”
– Douglas Brinkley, Director of the Eisenhower Center and professor of History at the University of New Orleans.

“Fascinating stories that transcend the mundane and take us to new levels of the human experience...Brands tells it, superbly.”
– Stephen E. Ambrose

“Brands gives us the literary equivalent of the Comstock Lode.”
– Richard Norton Smith, author of the Pulitzer-Prize finalist Thomas E. Dewey and His Times and Patriarch : George Washington and the New American Natio

“A magnificent, compelling story that takes us into one of the most thrilling and important moments in the American past.”
– Michael Beschloss, author of The Crisis Years: Kennedy and Khrushchev, 1960-1963

“An engrossing, multifaceted history... Its author, like the miners of the gold rush themselves, leaves no stone unturned.”
– Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“A barn burner...There’s only one thing to say...and that’s ‘Eureka!’”
– The San Francisco Chronicle

“Reminiscent of a hundred shoot-em-up flicks...Earns its keep from start to finish.”
– Book Magazine

“Brilliantly pans the historical record for nuggets of hardship and, in the process, hits upon a mother lode of a story.”
– The Austin American Statesman

“Brands weaves a grand tale about Americans, of all races, of diverse origins, who were heroic but not perfect.”
– Raleigh News and Observer
From the Hardcover edition.

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