The Age of Gold
The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream
When gold was discovered on the American River above Sutter's Fort in January 1848, California was a sparsely populated frontier territory that had yet to be officially ceded to the United States following the war with Mexico. The astonishing news --- Gold! In California! --- prompted hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to flock to California in hopes of finding instant riches. They sailed from Australia and China, from Europe and South America; the ventured across the disease-plagued Isthmus of Panama and through the treacherous waters of Cape Horn. And they traveled by foot, wagon, and horseback across the sweltering American plains and over the towering peaks of the Sierras. They abandoned wives and families, homesteads and farms. San Francisco and Sacramento sprang up overnight, as did scores of mining camps, and entrepreneurs such as Leland Stanford and Sam Brannan amassed fortunes supplying the miners with picks and shovels, food and clothing. By 1850, California had become a state -- the fastest journey to statehood in U.S. history.
In The Age of Gold, H.W. Brands explores the far-reaching implications of this pivotal point in U.S. history, interweaving the politics of the times with the gripping stories of both the ordinary and the famous -- adventurers such as John and Jessie Fremont, soldier and banker William Tecumseh Sherman, argonauts Sarah Royce and Lewis Manly, and many others -- in a colorful, intricate tapestry displaying both the best and worst of the American character. He illuminates the national issues that exploded around the ratification of California's statehood, including the storm over slavery that would ultimately lead to the Civil War. He recounts the great fortunes won -- and lost. And most of all, he reveals the profound effect the Gold Rush had on the way Americans viewed their destinies, as the notion of striking it rich quickly transformed the traditional Puritan ethic of hard work and the gradual accumulation of wealth. In the aftermath of the Gold Rush, a new American dream was born -- the enduring conviction that sudden wealth was potentially within everyone's grasp.
A stunning re-creation of one of the most exciting periods of America's past, The Age of Gold is narrative history on a grand scale.
Doubleday, Hardcover, 1st U.S. Edition, 1st Printing, 545 Pages, 2002
This is a USED book in AS NEW Condition. The dust wrapper is also in AS NEW condition and is enclosed in a mylar cover to prevent damage.